Genovese Pesto

  • Active Time 5m
  • Total Time 15m

Makes about 2 cups.

Few sauces represent a season as perfectly as this summer sauce from Liguria. The distinct flavors of basil and garlic, mellowed with Italian Parmesan, give it a versatility matched by few other sauces. It can be used for pasta and pizza, spread on crostini and panini, even used as a marinade for roasted meats. Vary the amount of olive oil according to your own preferences: use less for a light, fluffy texture and more for a denser, heavier and more flavorful sauce.


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, combine the basil and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the motor running, add 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Scatter the cheeses over the top, then pulse until the cheeses are absorbed. Again with the motor running, slowly add the remaining oil and process until creamy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the nuts and pulse just until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Use immediately, or pour into a container and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Serving Size = 2 tablespoons

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 431

nutrition information per serving

90 calories; 9g total fat; 3mg cholesterol; 55mg sodium; 1g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 2g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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