Pesto alla Genovese


Basil (small leaved Genovese variety) 2 large bunches

Pine nutes (100g)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (preferably Ligurian) about 6 tbsp.

Garlic (1 small clove)

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Sardo (40g each)

Notes on ingredients: Ligurian Olive Oil, and Pecorino Sardo are preferable because they are the traditional ingredients, and therefore impart the classic taste associated with Pesto alla Genovese. This does not mean you cannot diverge and use Olive Oil, or Pecorino of another origin, it will just taste a bit different, not better or worse, but different. Just ensure the olive oil is always Extra Virgin, and wherever you are sourcing your ingredients from is trustworthy and dedicated to quality. You can also play around with the ratio of Parmigiano to Pecorino, or just use one or the other according to personal taste.


The best use of time would be to make your pesto while your water is coming to a boil. Its recommended to under-salt your water a bit as the pecorino will be fairly salty in its own right

Begin by cleaning your basil, picking the leaves from the stems and placing them in a bowl or salad spinner. Once picked cover the basil leaves with cold water and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. In a food processor add the pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt and pulse until you have a rough paste. Then, add the basil one handful at a time, pulsing each bunch to incorporate well. Add the cheese and combine again. Then with the motor running drizzle in the olive oil slowly to emulsify your pesto. The consistency should be nice and smooth, if it feels too rough or dry add some more olive oil to loosen. Always taste your pesto and correct for seasoning to taste, the pecorino is quite salty, so go lightly on additional salt.

Once your pesto is ready you can drop your pasta in the lightly salted water and pay full attention to ensure you cook it perfectly al dente.

Once your pasta is ready, drain, or add it directly from the water to a large serving bowl with your pesto and toss well. You can add a bit of the cooking water (which you should always save a bit of ) to loosen the pesto and help coat the pasta, just add it a bit at a time so as to avoid leaving it watery.

Garnish your pasta with a nice small basil leaf if you’re the artistic type, and enjoy it piping hot. Buon Apetito!


Wine pairing: A Ligurian Vermentino would keep you wholly rooted in the region, though the Sardinian variety would also be a fine choice, as would a good Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc. If you care to be adventurous explore a nice northern Soave!