Pesto alla Genovese

The one an only, original pesto! Did you know it's naturally gluten free? In my family, we’ve always done homemade pesto instead of buying it. It’s easy and much more satisfying because of the whole experience: picking the basil leaves, choosing the right natural ingredients, enjoying their amazing aroma during the preparation.

Growing in a family with Sicilian origin, I have to admit that we haven’t always followed the proper tradition, and I remember my grandma using almonds instead of pine nuts. It’s not a bad combination, but it isn’t the traditional version from Liguria.
When I started living on my own, I searched a few options online, and I found a recipe from the local Pesto Consortium (from Liguria, an Italian region) that I’m happy to share. It is very special and easy to do,  so I already told many of my friends. Will you make your own original pesto?

Ingredients (makes 160 gr pesto, for 4 pasta servings or 1 lasagna)

  • 50 gr basil leaves
  • Half a glass olive oil (approximately 80 gr)
  • 30 gr Parmesan cheese 
  • 10 gr Pecorino cheese 
  • 15 gr Pine nuts 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 grains coarse salt

Note: the name pesto literally means “crushed”, because in the original recipe the ingredients are crushed together with a mortar and pestle instead of blended with a food processor. The mortar is the best solution to extract the flavor from the basil leaves and avoid their oxidation (caused by heat and the metal blade).

  1. Crush the garlic cloves with the salt grains. Add the pine nuts and keep on working the paste with the pestle.
  2. Add the basil leaves little by little, and crush them with a rotational movement.
  3. After all the basil is mixed, add the Parmesan and Pecorino and blend them in.
  4. At the end, pour in the oil, little by little, while gently stirring the pesto. Your green homemade pesto is now ready to eat!

TIPS: If you only have a food processor you can follow the same order to blend the ingredients. To guarantee the best possible result, make sure to follow these 2 basic principles: use the spinning blade for as little as possible, and add half of the oil together with the basil leaves to make sure the ingredients are well blended together. 

Have you tried it? Do you have any suggestions? Leave your comment.