A simple, classic basil pesto recipe perfect for pasta, on a sandwich, as a pizza sauce, garnish for soups, or paired with grilled meats. Only takes 5 minutes to make!
If you are Italian please do not read any further …. I’m pretty sure you were born instinctively knowing how to make Pesto Genovese. You were probably given a marble mortar and a wooden pestle before you could even walk and the multi-generational family recipe passed on to you from your Nonna or your Mama is ingrained on your brain like a tattoo. Consider yourself blessed. So just stop reading. Seriously.
Pesto Genovese aka Classic Pesto aka Traditional Pesto is awesome. Enough said. End of post. Buon appetito.
Not really. I have more to say (of course).
Pesto Genovese is a deceptively simple sauce to make. Throw some basil, pine nuts, cheese, salt, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor and let it whir until blended. Simple, right?
Errr…not so fast.
For a true classic Italian Pesto
Here’s what you need in order to make this green gold.
- Find some D.O.P. basil from Genova. You might have to fly to the Italian region of Liguria for this, but who wouldn’t love a trip to Italy?!
- Grab some pine nuts off some pine cones (yep, they actually come from pine cones)
- Pick up a wedge of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Pecorino cheese (specifically Fiore Sardo Pecorino)
- You’ll need a
coupleof garlic cloves from Vessalico (small town about 56 miles southwest of Genova…road trip!)
- Pinch of salt
- And while you’re at it be sure to get some D.O.P. olive oil from the Italian Riviera.
This pesto could provide for a really lovely trip along the Mediterranean. And some really expensive pesto.
Since us normal folk aren’t typically able to go jet-setting each time we would like fresh pesto I think it’s time to break some Pesto Genovese rules. And if you’re Italian and still reading this, don’t tell your Nonna. My ingredients are sourced from my local grocery store. And they won’t be D.O.P.
While a marble mortar and a wooden pestle are the “correct” method for making pesto, I’m taking the easy/fast route and using my food processor. I LUU-UH-UHHHVE my food processor. It makes the world of cooking easier in many ways, with homemade pesto
There are also rules regarding the order in which the ingredients should be incorporated. I typically stick to these rules. Sometimes sticking to the rules is worthwhile. I repeat, sometimes…
Begin by processing the garlic and pine nuts together.
Once the pine nuts and garlic are pulverized, add the basil and salt. Then add the cheese.
Finally, with motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream, processing until incorporated.
And just like that, we have green gold. Easy peasy! In no more than 5
You might even catch someone in your household eating it by the spoonful. Yeah husband, I’m looking at you.
What are you waiting for?! Whip up some homemade pesto
Did You Make This Recipe?!
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment and a star rating below! I greatly appreciate your feedback and it is also so helpful for other PMST readers who are thinking about making the recipe. Remember to snap a photo and tag @passmesometasty on Instagram so I can see!
A simple and classic pesto recipe perfect for pasta, on a sandwich, as a pizza sauce, garnish for soups, or paired with grilled meats.
- 1–2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 4 cups packed fresh basil
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 3 Tbsp Pecorino cheese, grated
- ⅓ – ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Pulverize the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor.
- Add basil and pinch of salt. Pulse until finely minced.
- Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino.
- With food processor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream just until all ingredients are blended together.
- When storing, place in smallest airtight container possible and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. After each use, continue to cover the top with a little more olive oil to preserve herbs. Refrigerate for up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.
Pesto can be easily adapted to please your specific tastes. So if you prefer it to be nuttier, cheesier, or more garlicky just add a little more of that ingredient.
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pesto recipe, basil pesto, pesto genovese, sauce recipes
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