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.
Homemade Pesto recipe
Homemade Pesto recipe
Homemade Pesto Recipe

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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

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 Pesto, when You can Buy?

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?

Pesto Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Basil Leaves
  • Garlic
  • Pine Nuts
  • Parmesan & Pecorino Romano Cheeses (although some omit the cheese)
  • And the obligatory salt and pepper

Red Pesto Recipe

Red Chilli Pesto
Red Chilli Pesto

How do You Make Pesto?

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 pesto. Traditionally, pesto is made with a pestle and mortar, giving you a more rustic sauce.

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

I am a huge fan of pesto sauce 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.

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 42 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

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

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11 thoughts on “Pesto alla Genovese (Traditional Basil Pesto Recipe from Genoa)”

    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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