Pesto alla Genovese

Pesto alla genovese is a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and pecorino sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk), all blended with olive oil.

According to tradition, the ingredients are “crushed” or ground in a marble mortar through a circular motion of a wooden pestle.  Strictly speaking, pesto is a generic term for anything that is made by pounding (from the Genoese verb “pestâ” or Italian “pestare”, which means to pound, to crush), that is why the word is used for several pestos in Italy. Nonetheless, pesto alla genovese (“Genoese pesto“) remains the most popular pesto in Italy and the rest of the world.

30g walnuts
35g pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
125g fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
375ml virgin olive oil
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.