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Discover Basil Pesto... 

Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese

When should I make it?

When basil is plentiful and in season (August time) it's great to make as much of this sauce as you can. You can always put it into small jars and freeze it for when you need it.

However, these days fresh basil is so much more readily available and it's so easy to make pesto you should make it whenever you can and you should certainly avoid the pre-made jars which are often packed full of preservatives and just don't taste anything like as nice as when you make it yourself.

How long will it take?

The sauce itself should only take about 5 minutes to make if you have a food processor. It might take a little longer if you're using a pestle and mortar.

What ingredients do I need?

 You will need:

  • (50g) Fresh basil leaves (remove stalks)
  • (30g) Pine nuts
  • 3 x Garlic cloves
  • 1 x Fresh chilli (optional)
  • (80ml) Olive oil
  • (30g) Parmasan cheese
  • Salt & Black Pepper
The quantities are a guideline, feel free to add more of the ingredient you like the most and less of those that you like less. Chilli is not strictly part of the recipe but it does give it a nice kick!

Can I use any alternatives if I can find certain ingredients?

You could use fresh rocket leaves instead of (or even in addition to) fresh basil.

What preparation do I need to do / what can I do in advance?

Remove th
e stalks from the basil, peel the garlic and you're pretty much ready to go.

Green Pesto

What are the main steps?

There's only really one step! That's how easy it is! Just put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz (or bash the ingredients together with a pestle and mortar adding the olive oil at the end)!

Once you have a smooth paste, try it! You may need to adjust the seasoning. If it is too dry, add some more olive oil. The important thing is to make it the way you like it! If you're a fan of garlic....add another clove or two. If you like spice... add more chilli!!

How should I serve it?

It is traditionally eaten with linguini, but you can use spaghetti, tagliatelle or penne! Simply add the sauce to your drained pasta and mix and coat well before serving.

Alternatively, make a pasta salad (rince the cooked pasta in cold water after cooking to stop it cooking and cool it down) and then add your pesto sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon. You could make a pesto rice salad in the same way.

Are there any variations to this recipe that I could try?

Why not try the recipe for red pesto? You could also try making it with Pecorino cheese and walnuts.

What are the origins of this recipe?

This is a classic from Genova.

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