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genoese pesto

Italian recipe: Genoese pesto

Genoese pesto
Difficulty: Easy

Preparation: 30 min
Doses for: 4 people

Basil 70 g
Extra virgin olive oil 70 g
Parmigiano Reggiano 50 g
Pecorino 30 g
Pine nuts 30 g
Garlic 2 cloves
Coarse salt 3 g

Pasta and pesto is one of the symbolic Italian first courses and one of the best summer recipes that exist. Let’s face it, when Genoese pesto is brought to the table it is always a feast and, when it is genuine, made with the right ingredients and with the perfect technique, it is even better!

The history of pesto is long, dating back to ancient Rome. The first known recipe for a pesto-like sauce was written by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman chef and cookbook author who lived in the first century AD. Apicius’ recipe describes a mixture of herbs, cheese, and garlic, which was ground together in a mortar and pestle.

The sauce that we know today originated in the Liguria region of Italy, in the city of Genoa. The first known recipe for pesto alla genovese was published in a cookbook in 1863. This recipe described a mixture of basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The sauce was ground together in a mortar and pestle, and then served over pasta.

Pesto quickly became a popular sauce in Genoa, and it soon spread to other parts of Italy. In the early 1900s, pesto began to be exported to other countries, and it soon became a favorite sauce around the world.

Today, pesto is a popular ingredient in many different dishes, including pasta, panini, and salads. It is also used as a spread for bread and crackers. Pesto is a versatile and delicious sauce that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

The word “pesto” comes from the Italian word “pestare,” which means to pound.

Traditional Genoese pesto is processed on a marble mortar, where the small and tender Genoese basil leaves are ground together with garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt and extra virgin olive oil.

Don’t worry, as one of the leading Genoese pesto experts and producers in Italy, Roberto Panizza from the restaurant “Il Genovese” in Genoa, also suggests, it can also be prepared with the mixer … the important thing is to respect some precautions and choose the best ingredients. You can also do it without garlic, if you prefer. Here’s how to make Genoese pesto to perfection to season your favorite pasta or make the classic trenette with pesto, potatoes and green beans.

To make the Genoese pesto, first remove the leaves from the basil twigs and place them in a colander. Rinse them briefly under cold running water, then transfer them to a cloth and dry them by dabbing and rubbing gently. Pay attention to the the hollow of the leaf where the water is collected must be dry.

Take a marble mortar and put inside the cloves of garlic deprived of the core and divided in four parts. Work the garlic with a wooden pestle until you get a cream. At this point add the pine nuts and proceed in the same way.

When you have reduced them to a paste, add the basil leaves and the coarse salt.

Always start with percussion movements first and then continue with rotating movements. Take care to collect the ingredients from the inside edges of the mortar with a spoon so as to obtain a uniform pesto. When the consistency is creamy and homogeneous, add the Pecorino in chunks and pound in the same way to incorporate it, then add the Parmigiano Reggiano DOP Stravecchio and do the same thing.

When all the ingredients are reduced to a cream, pour the oil and swirl the pestle for a few more moments. Your Genoese pesto is ready to be enjoyed!

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