Basil Pesto – “Pesto Alla Genovese”

A great easy recipe that is bursting with freshness. Pesto is perfect for smearing on crusty bread, dolloping on pizza just as it comes out of the oven, or stirring through fresh pasta.

Or thin the pesto with extra olive oil and use it as a dressing for a salad of ripe juicy tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Pesto is best used immediately, but can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar with a thin layer of olive oil drizzled on top to stop the pesto from oxidising.

Basil Pesto – “Pesto Alla Genovese” Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, leaves removed from storks (equals approximately 2 cups packed basil leaves)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped, or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted*
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 50 ml olive oil

Basil Pesto – “Pesto Alla Genovese” Recipe Method

Wash and dry the basil leaves in a salad spinner. Roughly chop the leaves and place in a food processor with the garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Pulse for a few seconds to roughly combine.

Add the lemon juice and half of the olive oil and pulse again for a few seconds. If the pesto doesn’t look wet enough, add the remaining olive oil and pulse to combine. You may wish to add a bit more oil than the recipe states, if you prefer a slightly more liquid pesto.

Try not to over process the pesto in the food processor, it is better to leave some chunky bits in for texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*NB, you can toast pine nuts in a small frypan over low heat (dry fry), stirring constantly, or place on a tray and toast in a moderate oven (approximately 160ºC) for 5-10 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them no matter what method you use, as they have a habit of turning from golden brown to burnt in no time!