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Pesto Genovese, The Authentic Italian Recipe

Pesto alla Genoese in an Italian sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan, pecorino, oil, pine nuts and salt. The ingredients are blended together in a food processor or mortar and pestle until a thick paste is created: here's the authentic Italian recipe.
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Pesto Genovese, The Authentic Italian Recipe
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Prep 30 minutes
  • Servings 6 servings

The Pesto Genovese (Italian Basil Pesto) is a typical recipe from Liguria and in particular from the city of Genoa, famous all over the world for its fresh and summery flavor reminiscent of the sea and Italy’s seaside. Recall, for those who do not know, that Pesto Alla Genovese is a Salsa made with basil, salt, garlic, pine nuts, pecorino, parmesan, and extra virgin olive oil.

As the Consortium of Pesto Genovese keeps reminding us, the real Pesto Genovese according to the Authentic Recipe is the one that does not include any extra additions to the mentioned ingredients (no ricotta cheese, cashews, seed oil or other ingredients ever seen in the original recipe). Obviously and rigorously prepared in the mortar, which we recommend you to use, if you have one available and some time: the finished product will give you immense joy and satisfaction.

Today, however, we want to reveal to you a faster method of preparing Homemade Pesto, with the help of the blender in place of the mortar, to make an excellent Quick Pesto in just a few minutes. Thanks to this system, preparing Pesto will really be a breeze and you will have no excuse not to make it yourself at home. In fact, the suggestion is just to prepare a nice stock of it in the Summer, when basilico is in season, and then store it portioned in the freezer so it can be thawed and used in the colder months.

To get a creamy Pesto remember to blend the Pesto longer, while if you want to get a coarser and grainier Rustic Pesto Sauce simply blend less long. Of course, you can also customize the ingredients depending on what you have on hand or what you don’t like: for example, if you didn’t like garlic you could omit it, and if you didn’t have pine nuts, you could safely replace them with walnuts or peeled almonds.

Usually Ligurian-style pesto is used with pasta or gnocchi, but it is also really outstanding for seasoning potatoes or boiled green beans, to be eaten with bread or to create appetizers such as the Salted Ham and Pesto Brioches. Pesto is so versatile that you can create countless recipes with it, like Pasta with Saffron and Pesto, Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, the ever-present Lasagna with Pesto, the Risotto with Pesto and the classic Trofie with Pesto Avantaggiato (with Potatoes and Green Beans).

If, on the other hand, you are curious to try other types of Pesto, all you have to do is try the Sicilian Pesto, the Zucchini Pesto or the Dried Tomato Pesto.


Copy Ingredients


  1. To prepare the Authentic Pesto Genovese, you should start by washing the basil thoroughly in cold water, then taking care to peel off the leaves and let them dry a clean, dry cloth.

  2. In the jug of your food processor/blender place half of the basil leaves you have prepared and add the pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, the coarse salt and start blending for a few seconds. At that point you can add the basil and the remaining ingredients (crushed garlic, pecorino and parmesan cheese) blending with pulses for a maximum of 10-15 seconds at a time (this way the basil will not risk overheating and blackening) until you get the desired consistency of pesto.

  3. Once the Pesto is ready, all you have to do is use it right away or portion it into jars or containers (filling them with oil if necessary) and store it for use later.


If you prefer, you can also prepare Pesto without Garlic, simply removing this ingredient. In addition, for those who follow a particular diet, you can prepare the Vegan Basil Pesto.


Remember that the more you blend, the creamier Pesto you will get. Conversely, faster blending will give a grainier, more rustic Pesto. The important thing is that in both cases you blend little by little with short pulses of 10-15 seconds, to avoid overheating the basil leaves causing them to turn black.


Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer even for several months (taking care to thaw it about a day in advance).