The Genoese pesto made with fresh basil leaves is the symbol of the Italian (Ligurian) culinary tradition and it is the ideal condiment during the summer season. That it's due to both its freshly picked basil taste and that it is consumed raw.
Clearly, the fresh homemade pesto is much more genuine than the ready-made ones we find at the supermarket and in order to have it even during the winter it is enough to freeze it in glass jars with the necessary precautions.
Preparing fresh Genoese pesto is really easy and today it can be made in a very short time thanks to the help of a simple blender, while in the past the preparation procedure, using a mortar, was much longer and more laborious.
The traditional recipe, protected by the Genoese Pesto Consortium, is awaiting the STG (Traditional Guaranteed Specialty) European mark and it provides for the use of specific local ingredients such as PDO Genoese Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Ligurian Riviera, PDO Parmigiano Reggiano, PDO Pecorino Sardo (Fiore Sardo).
Do not dispair if you can't find the traditional Ligurian ingredients, the important thing is actually to use quality raw ingredients, an excellent extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil leaves so that the pesto is bright green and not dark green.
Preparing the homemade Genoese pesto
To prepare homemade Genoese pesto for 600 g of pasta:
- 50 g fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 6 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
- 2 tablespoons of pecorino cheese
- half a glass of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a few grains of coarse salt
- Rinse the basil leaves in strictly cold water and dry them on a dry cloth;
- Place half of the ingredients in the blender cup: basil leaves, pine nuts, chopped or sliced garlic, a few grains of coarse salt and olive oil;
- Blend for 5 seconds then add the remaining half of the ingredients plus the grated cheeses and blend again for another 10 seconds, after which it must be stopped to avoid "cooking" the mixture;
- After a few minutes, resume blending if you want to obtain a very thick and homogeneous pesto.
Genoese pesto is a versatile condiment: excellent on its own with pasta (trofie, linguine, trenette, gnocchi), but also very pleasant in addition to lasagne or compound sauces such as the shrimp, cherry tomatoes and courgettes ones!
Vegan Genoese pesto
To prepare a vegan variant of Genoese pesto, simply remove the grated cheeses from the original recipe, which will further enhance the flavor of the basil!
Conservation of homemade Genoese pesto
Fresh pesto can be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator to be consumed within 2 or 3 days. You just have to place a layer of olive oil on the surface to prevent the pesto from blackening and from changing its taste.
To preserve the pesto for longer periods as several months, just freeze it immediately as soon as it is ready, always in glass jars or airtight containers. In this case we advise not to put the grated cheeses during the preparation, but to add them fresh at the moment; this will help in preserving the pesto longer.