Pesto alla Genovese also known simply as Pesto, as its name suggests is typical of the city of Genoa, the main city of Liguria in the north-west of Italy. The word Pesto derives from the verb ‘pestare’ which means to pound, to crush basil leaves and other ingredients in the traditional marble mortar with a wooden pestle. And this is how pesto alla Genovese is traditionally made.
However, if you are short on time and not equipped with a mortar and pestle, a handy blender will do.

Pesto alla Genovese requires that in addition to basil, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano, there is also Pecorino cheese, albeit in a smaller quantity than Parmigiano.

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

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 mins

  • Basil leaves, fresh: 150 g
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated: 70 g
  • Pecorino cheese, grated: 30 g
  • Pine nuts: 40 g
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • EVOO – Extra virgin olive oil: 80 ml
  • Salt: a pinch


Peel the garlic cloves, slice them thinly and place them in the blender together with the pine nuts, then start blending. Now add the basil, blending intermittently for a few seconds; this way the pesto will not overheat and ‘cook’. Now add the grated Parmigiano cheese, followed by the grated Pecorino cheese.

As mentioned, be sure to stop the blender from time to time and stir the pesto with a spoon to ensure a smooth consistency.

Once all the ingredients have been blended, pour the pesto into a bowl. Add oil and a pinch of salt to taste, stirring with a spoon to get a thick consistency.

Tip: it would be best to avoid adding the oil directly into the blender, as the final consistency would look more like that of a smoothie than pesto.

How to store homemade pesto?

Once the jar has been opened and some of the pesto has been consumed, it should be placed in the refrigerator covered with extra virgin olive oil to prevent it from oxidising, closed tightly and consumed at least within 4-5 days.

Can I freeze it once made?
Sure, you can freeze it in single-dose jars and thaw it when needed.

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