First published August 2011. Updated August 2018.
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.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Basil Leaves
- Pine Nuts
- Parmesan & Pecorino Romano Cheeses (although some omit the cheese)
- And the obligatory salt and pepper
Red Pesto Recipe
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.
Pesto Recipes on LinsFood
You’ll find more wonderful Italian recipes on the Italian Recipes page, including fusion recipes like Wild Garlic Pesto.
♥ Do you like this recipe? Please give it a 5-star rating below! And when you make it, share it on Instagram or any other social medium and tag me @azlinbloor. Grazie! … Lin ♥Print
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.
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 60g (2oz) pine nuts
- 3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
- 150ml (3/5 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 3Tbsp 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.
- Category: Sauces
- Cuisine: Italian