Pesto alla Genovese

What we commonly refer to a simply pesto is more properly called pesto alla Genovese, after the Ligurian port of Genoa where it is said to have originated. As with most traditional preparations each cook has a unique version that is purportedly the only authentic one. I make no such claim; I just offer than my particularly garlicky pesto is very good and worthy of a try.

Yield about 1 cup


  • 5 or 6 cloves garlic, peeled (more or less to taste)
  • 4 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves and tender stems
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons pignoli, lightly toasted
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste


Put the peeled garlic into a food processor and chop finely. Add the basil leaves and pulse to mince. Turn on the food processor and pour the olive oil in slowly until a paste forms. Scrape down the sides and pulse. Add the parmesan, pignoli, and salt. Pulse to combine then taste and correct salt if needed.


1) If you do not have pignoli or prefer not to use them, walnuts or almonds are good substitutes, or you can just leave them out altogether.

2) Since you can make pesto for a small fraction of what it cost to buy, make a lot and freeze it. Lightly oil an ice cube tray, freeze the pesto in it, then store the cubes in a plastic freezer bag.


One response to “Pesto alla Genovese

  1. Ernie August 15, 2011 at 19:27

    Delicious recipe and so easy to prepare! And thanks as well for the freezing tip!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: