From Italy’s busiest seaport, Genoa, comes Pesto Genovese, an aromatic compound of pine nuts, garlic, cheese, olive oil and fresh basil. It is said the basil grown there is unlike any other.
The proportions of pesto vary, each cook allowing those flavors that she or he likes best to predominate – the cheese, garlic, pine nuts or basil.
- Servings For 4 - 6
- 30-40 leaves fresh basil, plus additional for garnish
- A heaping handful of pine nuts (a cup or more), lightly toasted, plus additional for garnish
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 113-142 grams (4-5 ounces) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
- 454 grams (1 pound) trenette or green linguine
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Learn more about Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Using a blender, food processor (or if you prefer to suffer, a mortar and pestle) combine the pine nuts, garlic and two-thirds of the oil. Blend into a paste, adding sufficient oil to achieve a smooth consistency. Add the cheese and additional oil to achieve a sauce-like consistency. Season with pepper to taste. You may want to add, at the end, an 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of hot water to attain a smoothness, but do not make the sauce too thin.
2. In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta. At the ‘al dente’ stage, drain, and while it is still a bit wet, toss the hot pasta with the pesto sauce until well coated. The clinging water will tend to dilute and further smooth the sauce. Serve in warmed bowls.