Here’s the recipe for the Authentic Pesto alla Genovese!
Ingredients for Pesto alla Genovese, enough to dress 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of pasta:
50 grams (1.76 oz) of fresh basil leaves;
100 ml (3.4 fl oz) of Italian extra virgin olive oil, preferably from the region of Liguria;
6 Tbsp of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese aged 24 months or more;
2 Tbsp of finely grated Pecorino Fiore Sardo or, alternatively, a seasoned Pecorino Romano cheese;
2 cloves of garlic;
1 Tbsp of pinoli;
1 tsp of coarse sea salt.
According to the Genoese tradition, pesto is prepared with a marble mortar and a wooden pestle.
Rumor has it that the taste of pesto done in this way is the best and by far the most authentic one.
If you happen to have the necessary tools at home, go ahead and follow the procedure below, otherwise you may use: a ceramic mortar, a blender or a food processor.
The last two are the least traditional to use, but their results are not too far away from the original method.
Whatever the tools, remember that pesto must be prepared literally minutes before consumption!
If you want to savour pesto with pasta, the first thing is to put the water in the pot and place it on high flame.
As for the kind of pasta, pesto is usually eaten with trenette or trofie in Genoa, but you can choose any short pasta that is strictly Italian and made of durum wheat flour.
We used trofie this time!
When the water in the pot is boiling, salt it very well, throw your pasta in, give it a good stir and, finally…start preparing pesto!
Wash the basil leaves in cold water and place them on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
Put garlic and coarse sea salt in the mortar, or in the food processor’s bowl, and mash into a paste.
Add the basil leaves, about 10 at a time, squeezing them gently against the mortar walls, in order to help them release the essential oils.
With the food processor, go extremely easy on the blending or you’ll get a quality equal to the commercial sauce in the jar.
Once all the leaves are mashed, add pinoli in the mortar and crush them well with the rest. Blend in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Fiore Sardo cheeses and gently mix until the ingredients turn into a homogeneous paste.
Now add the extra virgin olive oil in thin stream and simply incorporate.
Adjust salt to taste and…the pesto is ready!
Hopefully, your pasta has just cooked until the al dente point, and it is time to drain it and pour in a big bowl. Add your freshly done pesto on top and mix it thoroughly.
Serve immediately, before the oxygen spoils the beautiful green hue of your homemade and truly authentic Pesto alla Genovese!