Genoese pesto

Genoese pesto is the most famous Genoa's food all over the world. Try it with trofie or lasagne
genoese pesto

Pesto is the most famous dishes of Genoese cuisine worldwide: in Genoa almost all the restaurants offer in the menu a dish of pasta with pesto, mainly trofie, mandilli de sea (thin lasagne) or trenette with potatoes and green beans.

In Genoa pesto can also be tried as street food, there are many to offer dishes based on pesto to take away and there are also gastronomy and shops of typical products where you can buy cans of pesto ready.

You can obviously prepare the real Genoese pesto at home, using the ingredients indicated by the Genoese Pesto Consortium: Genoese basil PDO small leaf, with no hint of mint and with a soft color, extra virgin olive oil possibly from the Ligurian Riviera, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (or Grana Padano), Pecorino DOP (Sardinian), pine nuts, garlic, salt.

The historical preparation of Genoese pesto involves the use of mortar, in its absence you can use the kitchen mixer.

There are many variations prepared with other ingredients such as walnuts and cashews (better than walnuts) but in any case the taste of pesto will be different than the original one.

Genoese pesto, recipe

  • 2 small leaf basil bunches
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic (possibly Vessalico garlic)
  • 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (or in the absence Grana Padano)
  • 1 tablespoon of Sardinian pecorino cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

These doses are indicative for four people.

Clean the bunch of basil by detaching all the leaves: wash and dry them gently so as not to damage them. If you use the mixer, put the basil leaves well dried in the pan, add parmesan, pecorino cheese, pine nuts, garlic and a few grains of coarse salt; operate the mixer and chop all the ingredients. Finally add the extra virgin olive oil and blend until creamy.

If you use the mortar, put a part of the basil leaves inside well dried, then add parmesan, pecorino cheese, pine nuts, garlic and a few grains of coarse salt; take the pestle and start pounding with a circular motion along the walls, taking the ingredients and grouping them in the center of the mortar. Then add the remaining basil leaves, continue to mash and add the olive oil. Also in this case the consistency must be creamy.

Cook the pasta in water and salt, drain and season with pesto genovese. You can also add boiled green beans and potatoes, which will give the pasta a greater creaminess.


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