pesto alla genovese

Pesto Alla Genovese


4 cups basil, loosely packed

2 large cloves garlic

1/4 cup Italian pine nuts, toasted, or pistachios (salted or unsalted), or toasted almonds or walnuts

extra virgin olive oil - as much as two cups, as needed to obtain a loose pesto.

1/4 cup - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or pecorino if desired)


Tear leaves from stem, wash, dry and place in a food processor, along with the garlic, nuts and a small amount of the olive oil. Start with 1/2 cup and keep adding more until it flows smoothly when you dip a spoon into it, but not so thin that it falls off in a stream. Use your judgment. 

Add parmesan cheese if serving immediately. If you're planning to freeze it, don't add the parmesan cheese until after you defrost it and are ready to serve.


If using a mortar and pestle, start with the basil, garlic and nuts and add a small amount of coarse salt to help break down the leaves. Pound with the pestle and slowly add a little bit of olive oil. Keep working the mixture with the pestle and add the rest of the oil as needed. The process takes a lot of patience and time.