Pesto Genovese or basil pesto originated in Genoa in the northern part of Italy. Traditionally, it was pound or ground in a mortar and pestle by hand. These days a quick whizz in the food processor and you're done. If ever I have an abundance of basil, I always make this. I'm not growing my herbs at the moment but had bought a large bunch of fresh basil and just knew I had to make it into pesto. It's easy enough to make it yourself and I love how I can control the amount of garlic and parmigiano I can put it. Some of the store bought pestos are lacking in a lot of flavour.
Basil isn't the only flavour now being used in pesto. Just about anything can be used in pesto. For example, sun dried tomato, rocket, capsicum (bell peppers), coriander and other herbs, olives (traditionally called 'tapenade') and a variety of nuts like macadamias, cashews, walnuts, pecans etc.
bunch of basil, pull leaves off stems
4 cloves of garlic
50gm (or 2 tbs) fresh Grana Pandano (block parmesan cheese)
2 tbs pine nuts
extra virgin olive oil
- Place ingredients into a food processor or manual 'chopper'.
- Once finely chopped, resembling fine breadcrumbs, add enough extra virgin olive to produce a sauce consistency.
- Store in an airtight container, ensuring you add another layer of olive oil as it the pesto will oxidise. Will last in the refrigerator for one week.
1. Pasta alla Genovese
2. Cherry tomatoes stuffed with basil pesto
4. Mix with cream cheese or sour cream for a spread on sandwiches or as a dip
I would never use it on a pizza, for example, until after the cooking had been done. You don't want to ever heat the pesto rather just add it after.