Genoese green pesto

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200 ml / 7 fl. oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 125 g / 4½ oz pine nuts
  • 100 g / 3½ oz Parmesan cheese
  • 100 g / 3½ oz fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt & black pepper for seasoning
Genoese green pesto

Pesto hails from Genoa, in the Ligura region of Northern Italy and is simple to make, affordable to make fresh, and is packed with a lovely fresh flavour. This classic Italian sauce is perfect served simply alongside pasta or potatoes and grated parmesan. Most store bought pesto doesn't contain pine nuts and uses cheaper substitues – but if you can use pine nuts rather than cashew or walnuts the taste is much different, and much, much better.

Pesto is extremely versatile, and although quite salty, can form the basic of many healthy dishes. The pesto sauce can be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks too – just add a bit of extra virgin oil as a airtight layer over the top of the sauce.

Method

  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Add the grated parmesan, roughly chopped fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and toasted pine nuts to a small blender and blend to your desired consistency – I prefer quite a rough paste.
  • Season to taste and stir through – I tend to add about half a teaspoon of salt and black pepper, if not more!
  • Serve tossed into some linguine or pappardelle pasta, and top with yet more grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.

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