Pesto alla genovese

Pesto alla genovese
  • Serves icon Serves 4
  • Time icon Hands-on time 20 minutes

Made the traditional way – using a pestle and mortar – this classic pesto, from the Italian region of Genoa, can be stirred through pasta, spread onto flatbreads or added to burgers.


  • 1 garlic clove 
  • 15g pine nuts
  • 1 tsp coarse rock salt
  • 50g young basil leaves 
  • 30g parmesan, finely grated 
  • 15g pecorino sardo (or more parmesan), finely grated
  • 40ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to top

You’ll also need… 


  • Pestle and mortar


  1. Crush the garlic and pine nuts to a smooth paste with a pestle and mortar. Add half the salt and half the basil, then grind with a light circular movement, crushing the basil against the sides and turning the mortar. Repeat with the rest of the basil and salt.
  2. When the crushed basil releases its bright green oils, add the cheese(s). Work gently until mixed and a little sticky, then pour in the olive oil and mix gently with the pestle to form a paste with a bit of texture. Put in a small container and pour over just enough olive oil to cover. It will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.


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