Pesto alla Genovese – tips and recipe

Hey presto - pesto! (Photo by Paul Goyette)
Hey presto – pesto!

Pesto alla Genovese is a typical dish from the northern Italian region of Liguria, and specifically named after its capital city Genova.

Typically, this pesto is made by mixing 60 grams of fresh basil leaves, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons each of parmesan and pecorino cheese, salt and pepper. All ingredients are blended in a mixer, before oil is slowly drizzled in until a moist mixture is obtained. Best served on long pasta types like spaghetti, it is really delicious.

To store your pesto, put it in an airtight jar, keeping the pesto covered with oil to preserve it for at least a week or longer in the fridge. To stop it from turning brown, make sure you keep the pesto well-covered with the oil and don’t use a metal spoon to scoop it out (use a wooden spoon instead) which won’t react with the basil and turn it black.

Once the cold sets in, basil plants will wilt so it is a great way to use up all the basil leaves on the plants. One Artviva staff member likes to freeze pesto in an ice-tray to make cubes that can then be used throughout the winter, particularly good for making a typical Siena pasta sauce that sees a little tomato pulp cooked in a pan for about 10-15 minutes, with some pesto mixed in. It is a good and quick after-work pasta sauce, or lovely to drizzle over grilled meats, to make throughout the winter months.

To make pesto lasagna, make the béchamel sauce (see our recent Lasagna post for the recipe) and layer the béchamel and pesto between the pasta sheets, finishing with a layer of béchamel (sans pesto).

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