Pesto alla Genovese [Italy]

The word “pesto” on its own can be a reference to any type of sauce that is an aromatic mixture made of herbs, garlic, cheese, nuts, salt, and olive oil. However, Pesto alla Genovese, is the pesto that most commonly comes to mind when we hear the word. It is a Genoese-style pesto that is traditionally made with fresh basil and a mixture of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. The recipe below is one of many that can be found online. When making the pesto, taste along the way and adjust the sauce to your liking.



  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 cups basil leaves, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed


  1. Grind garlic and sea salt. In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic and sea salt together until a paste forms.
  2. Grind in pine nuts. Add the pine nuts and continue grinding until the pine nuts are broken down enough that the paste is just chunky.
  3. Add the basil in handfuls. Grind in the basil a handful at a time, pounding the mixture until the basil is ground apart in between each addition.
  4. Add in the Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. Mix both cheeses into the pesto, with a little bit of grinding action to make sure that none of the cheese is clumped together.
  5. Add in the olive oil. Drizzle in the olive oil and work it into the sauce until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust the salt and olive oil as needed.

Leave a Reply