Italian Regional Recipes

Genoese Basil Pesto

As its name says, this very famous pasta sauce is typical of Genoa, the main city in the Liguria region, North-West of Italy.

According to the traditional preparation, all the ingredients are crushed together with the help of a mortar and pestle – but if you’re short on time, though, a food mixer will do.

Genoese Basil Pesto, Pesto alla Genovese in Italian, is usually enjoyed with Trofie, a kind of elongated and curled fresh pasta, but it also pairs well with other pasta shapes like spaghetti, gnocchi, just to name a few or even lasagne. And pizza with basil pesto addition is just a delicacy.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 15 mins

  • Basil leaves, fresh: 150 g
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated: 70 g
  • Pine nuts: 40 g
  • Pecorino cheese, grated: 30 g
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil: to taste
  • Salt: to taste


Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into thin slices and put it in the mixer along with pine nuts, then start blending. Keep adding the rest of the ingredients to the mixture, blending it in between; start with the basil, then add Parmesan and Pecorino.

Make sure to stop the blender from time to time and stir the pesto with a spoon, to ensure a homogeneous texture.

Once all the ingredients are blended together, pour Pesto in a bowl. Add oil and salt to taste, stirring vigorously to achieve a thick consistency.

Tip: We’d refrain from adding the oil directly in the blender, because the final texture would resemble more that of a smoothie than that of pesto.

Tip: Pesto is a cold sauce that should not be heated but only added to the cooking water of pasta.

How to store homemade pesto?

Pesto can be easily frozen once made.
When you have opened the jar and consumed a part of pesto, it should then be put in the fridge covered with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to prevent it from oxidizing by closing the cap well and consumed at least within 4-5 days.

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