Pesto Genovese original recipe

Pesto Genovese original recipe

By 13/08/2012

Pesto comes originally from Genova in Liguria, a beautiful region in the north-west of Italy.

This pasta sauce has been around for a long time and it is now popular all over the world. The recipe has not changed much over the years.

I love pesto because it is a healthy, light and a tasty sauce for pasta. In the summer I make it more often as fresh basil and fresh pine nuts are easier to find.

cracking pinenuts

In Italy you can find maritime trees which produce pine cones. If you shake them well you can find plenty of shelled pine nuts, which you will need to crush in order to get the pine nuts.

In order to make pesto properly you need a pester and mortar. If you don't have one or if you don't have much time you can always use a food processor.

If you do, to avoid the ingredients to over- heat it is a good idea to use it at the lowest speed and to put the bowl's processor in the fridge before using it.
The heat during processing, can make the pesto bitter, dark green and change its delicate flavour.


  • Prep Time : 45 minutes



I have picked this recipe from Consorzio pesto genovese.

pesto genovese

Put the garlic and the salt in the mortar and grind it.

Add the basil and using a circular motion from left to right gently grind the leaves. If you are too rough you might spoil the essential oils of the basil.
Now add the pine nuts and keep grinding until you get a nice and creamy sauce. Add the cheese and eventually little by little the olive oil.

This freshly made pesto is going to taste wonderful with any type of pasta. I personally like it with brown linguine or trofie.
Store it in the fridge.

pesto genovese


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25 Responses to Pesto Genovese original recipe

  1. Anne

    I am sure it tastes amazing:) I would love to make it…I usually buy it ready made in jars!~Anne

  2. Gloria

    Aah what lovely and nice recipe Im sure tsstr wonderful!

  3. Choclette

    This classic pesto is my absolute favourite. but I hadn't realised it was better to grind it by hand. I've always done mine in a food processor, so I expect yours would taste much better. Interesting to see the pine cones too.

  4. All That I'm Eating

    I love pesto. I have never seen pine nuts before they've been cracked before! Such a classic recipe and always a winner.

  5. La cucina di Molly

    Che brava, la tua ricetta è perfetta! Anch'io adoro il pesto, lo uso molto per condire la pasta! Ciao e buon inizio d settimana!

  6. Linda

    Perfect timing for this recipe Alida. I was just talking about Pesto to a friend. They have a large garden ans plenty of basil. I have never made pesto. I am going to make some now. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  7. Jasna Varcakovic

    Great recipe!Nothing can beat home made pesto; the smell is so intense and colour intense!

  8. Anu

    Super home made pesto. Love that grinder.

  9. The View From The Table

    A classic Alida and I didn't know that was where pine nuts came from! Figures really… Looks beautiful.

  10. Zoe

    Ailda, your pesto is superb! Even the pine nuts are freshly harvested from the pine cones. I'm very impressed!

  11. Balvinder Ubi

    Nothing better than a home made pesto. I did not know that you add cheese.

  12. elly

    Beh Alida, sei stata grande! Addirittura come si faceva una volta, con il mortaio. Hai addirittura preso i pinoli direttamente dalla pigna! Io metto tutto nel mixer… ma tu sei stata veramente brava!!!

  13. Angie's Recipes

    A classic! I am so happy to see that you were using mortar instead of a blender to make this pesto. Fantastic!

  14. simran

    lovely pesto!….love that you used a mortar and pestle…..yum recipe..i always end up putting almonds and not pine nuts:(

  15. Dolcemeringa Ombretta

    Non sono mai stata a Genova ma mi piacerebbe molto visitarla:) il pesto pero ' l ho mangiato ed e'una vera bontà !!!!Bacioni

  16. Vanessa @ Cakes and Teacups

    We're pesto lovers here! Thanks Alida now I have an authentic Italian recipe I've bookmarked and will print shortly : ) Have nice rest of the evening.

  17. Claudia

    Che brava che sei, con quei pinoli avrà un sapore fantastico.Buon Ferragosto

  18. Recetario Spanglish para mis hijos

    Alida, this is a beautiful post. My dad used to look for the pine nuts to plant the seeds and he got enormous pines, I tried to do the same in California and wasn´t lucky. But I never imagined the pine nuts from the pines, sorry, my confusion because of the translations. Thank you for a post that brought me memories. And of course, we love pesto 🙂

  19. Rosita Vargas


  20. melania

    Sono sicura che questo piatto è un trionfo di gusto. Bravissima…un bacio

  21. unikorna

    What a lovely idea to make your own pesto Alida. It must taste astonishing made with your own magical hands :). I also love the picture, it's a bit poetic.

  22. Laura loves cakes

    This looks really impressive…I've never tried making pesto before but the contestants made it on Celebrity Masterchef the other day, so having seen yours as well, I might have to give it a go! 🙂

  23. Lynn Philomena Roselli

    Hi Alida, you must have been reading my mind about pesto. Yesterday I bought a basil plant and pinenuts! I have a question about the pine nuts the store “Trader Joe’s” here in Chicago had raw and already toasted pine nuts. Which would be better to use? Thanks, Lynn

    • Alida

      Hi Lynn,
      In pesto you normally use raw pine nuts but toasted pine nuts would work just as well. It just depends on your taste. I love toasted nuts they are much easier to digest and they taste great!

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