Pesto genovese

 

Pesto Genovese is a typical sauce from Liguria. The origins to Genoa’s acclaimed fame for pesto go back to the Middle Ages when its port was a center of commerce during the maritime republics. Venice was its greatest rival with an expansive spice trade of products coming from the orient. Meanwhile, Genoa’s commercial speciality were aromatic herbs such as basil, the main ingredient for pesto. Such herbs were often used in Liguria to season dishes, particularly soups. 

Ingredients

Only seven ingredients are needed to make pesto as dictated by the pesto consortia of Genoa and as certified by regional tradition:

- Genoese basil of Protected Denomination of Origin.

- Extra virgin olive oil, better if from Ligurian coast.

- Grated Parmesan cheese of Protected Denomination of Origin (or grana padano cheese).

- Grated Sardinian Pecorino cheese of Protected Denomination of Origin.

- Pine nuts.

- Garlic.

- Cooking salt.

 

Preparation

For six to seven servings.

A part from ingredients, you will need a marble mortar and a wooden pestle. Wash 50 grams of fresh basil leaves in cold water, then dry them with a clean cloth. Crush the garlic together with the cooking salt (one tooth of garlic for every thirty basil leaves). Once a homogeneous mixture is obtained , add a spoonful of pine nuts and continue crushing. Gradually mix in the basil leaves, and press gently in order to avoid the dispersion of the leave’s essential oils. At this point, add the cheese (six spoonfuls of Parmesan and two of Sardinian Pecorino), half a cup of olive oil and blend to obtain a sauce consistency.

Note: walnuts can be used instead of pine nuts. It’s be better to prepare it by hand, not too slowly as to prevent some ingredients from oxidizing, but if you’re looking to save time, a blender can be used. If all of the sauce isn’t used, it can be conserved in a glass jar, adding a layer of olive oil on the surface. In this case, though, it is better to consume it within five or six days. If it is not immediately consumed, once prepared, it can be frozen.