This is the authentic Italian basil pesto recipe, a pasta seasoning from Genova, Liguria.
THE AUTHENTIC BASIL PESTO
The authentic Genovese pesto is made with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
There are dairy-free versions, like this pesto with egg yolks, and there are many other recipes from other Italian regions, the Trapanese pesto, for example.
But the traditional basil pesto recipe has parmesan cheese, nuts, and a lot of olive oil.
HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL BASIL PESTO
I’m a pesto lover: I love the consistency; I love its easiness. I love the nutty flavors, and I adore it as a pasta condiment or spread on toasted bread or on top of mozzarella.
To make the authentic Italian basil pesto recipe, you should use a pestle and mortar.
Pest the garlic and salt first, then pine nuts, then basil, and then the cheese. Finally, add the olive oil, a filo – continuously but a little at a time.
And you are welcome to.
But I use a blender. And I guess 95% of Italians do the same.
The flavor is the same, the effort is 1/1000. This doesn’t mean, once every two years or so, I don’t get an ancestral need to pound, pound, pound, until I see the green juice explode from the leaves.
But as said, it happens once in a very long while.
One tiny suggestion if you are an aesthetic and hate that the pesto darkens soon: add a few, really, like two, drops of freshly squeezed lemon to the other ingredients before blending. It was a trick secretly shared with me by an old and sweet lady in Montalcino one day while I was waiting for my husband and ended up exchanging kitchen advice with her.
authentic Italian basil pesto
- 2.8 oz big bunch of basil 80 gr
- 2.8 oz parmesan or pecorino cheese, or both, mixed in equal parts 80 gr
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts 35 gr - 1.2 oz
- 4.4 oz extra-virgin olive oil 130 ml (Ligurian, if you find it)
You can use a food processor or a hand blender. I prefer the second, so I can see what’s happening and I can stop as soon as I get the consistency I want. Which is not totally-creamy: I like to leave a few, very small, lumps. It gives the plate some kind of drama.
Place all the ingredients in a bowl/food processor and blend until you get the desired consistency.
Cook and season pasta (here, I used bucatini).
basil pesto pasta frittata recipe
IF, and I underline if, you get pasta leftovers, you can add an egg or two and make a pasta frittata. Here’s the recipe!
pesto pasta frittata
for each serving
- 1 cup basil pesto pasta
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper
- extra-virgin Olive oil
Mix eggs and leftover pasta. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan (or bigger if you are making multiple servings).
Pour in the pasta and cook, medium/low heat and lid on, 2-3 minutes, until the sides are dry.
Flip around and cook 2 more minutes.
Plate and serve!
Enjoy your basil pesto recipe!!!