Basil Pesto (Pesto alla Genovese)

Basil pesto or pesto of any kind, is a very popular ingredient in my kitchen, we have it with pasta and use it in so many other different ways. Find out more below.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Homemade Pesto recipe
Homemade Pesto Recipe

Basil Pesto

Pesto, as many people know it, is that dark green basil sauce from Italy, traditionally eaten with trofie (short and thin, twisted pasta shapes). Of course, technically, this is basil pesto.

However, the word pesto, comes from the Italian word pestare, meaning “to pound, crush or grind”. So pesto really is any sauce where the ingredients have been pounded together.

But the pesto that we all know and love, is in fact basil pesto or Pesto Genovese, created in the port city of Genoa, in Liguria, in north west Italy. And it has the simplest of ingredients.

Why make it, when you can buy it so easily? Because it’s easy, it’s fresh, and it contains only the ingredients it needs. That means no potato, no egg and no additives, that you are likely to see on the ingredients’ list of shop bought pesto.

Homemade Pesto recipe
Doesn’t that look better than anything out of a jar?

The Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Basil Leaves
  • Garlic
  • Pine Nuts
  • Parmesan & Pecorino Romano Cheeses
  • And the obligatory salt and pepper

Red Pesto Recipe

Red Chilli Pesto
Red Chilli Pesto

How do You Make Basil Pesto?

Traditionally, pesto is made with a pestle and mortar, giving you a more rustic sauce. But the food chopper saves you time and elbow grease. You place all the above ingredients in a food chopper (olive oil is drizzled in later) and chop to either a fine or coarse state, however you prefer your basil pesto.

Grating your cheese before adding to the chopper or your mortar, makes for easier chopping and pounding.

I am a huge fan of basil pesto and make a variety of them, as well as a variety of recipes with pesto. Another favourite pesto sauce of mine is the Red Chilli Pesto, above.

And, you will find, below, examples of how I use Pesto Genovese here on LinsFood.

Let’s get our aprons on!

Pesto Recipes on LinsFood

You’ll find more wonderful Italian recipes on the Italian Recipes page, including fusion recipes like Wild Garlic Pesto.

Pesto Couscous Salad (15-minute Pantry Recipe)
Pesto Couscous Salad is easy and quick, perfect for a a quick, hassle free lunch and great lunchbox idea for both kids and adults.
Get the Recipe!
Pesto Couscous Salad, a lunchbox recipe
Baked Pesto Meatballs (Perfect in sauce or as Canapé)
Delicious Italian meatballs with a twist – these ones are zinged up with pesto!
Get the Recipe!
Pesto Risotto with Salmon
Super delicious pesto recipe that takes only 30 minutes!
Get the Recipe!
Pesto Risotto with Salmon

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Homemade Pesto recipe

Pesto alla Genovese (Traditional Basil Pesto Recipe from Genoa)

8-minute easy recipe for homemade pesto, or Pesto Genovese, the basil pesto that we love so much! Click here also, for ideas on how to use pesto.
5 from 43 votes
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Course: Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pesto
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 (about 250ml/1 cup)
Calories: 460kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 60 g pine nuts
  • 3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


  • In a food chopper, start with chopping the garlic and pine nuts for a few seconds.
  • Add the basil leaves and half the olive oil and continue chopping for about 20 seconds more.
  • Add the cheeses, salt, pepper and a little more olive oil and chop again.
  • Scrape down the sides and add more olive oil if you need it and chop one last time to incorporate everything together. You are going for a paste that is just pourable and thick.


Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 126IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
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11 thoughts on “Basil Pesto (Pesto alla Genovese)”

    1. Hi Lili. Sure, you can substitute the pine nuts with cashew nuts, if you can’t eat them. However, I would use only half the weight, 30g/1oz, in this recipe, as cashew nuts are very creamy.

  1. Jackie Crowe

    Thank you for this. I did a search for the recipe and found yours. Really excited to try the pesto in those other recipes.

  2. Thanks Chef, I didn’t realise how quick and easy it was to make pesto. Definitely making it

  3. Ah, you’ve demystified pesto sauce for me. I’m off to the supermarket this morning to get the cheese, basil leaves and pine nuts. Thank you!

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