Pesto Sauce

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Pesto alla Genovese

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The Pesto Genovese is probably one of the most famous Italian sauces!

The word pesto means literally to crush, from the Italian pestare. The name reflect the way pesto sauce is traditionally made: all the ingredients are in fact ground together in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. 

The recipe derived form the roman Moretum, a sauce very popular at the time. However among the ingredients of the original recipe there were mixed herbs instead of the basil used today. The reason was that basil wasn’t yet cultivated in Europe. When it was imported from India many farmers started to grow it especially in the Liguria region.

When the Ligurian began to cultivated the basil they adapted the roman recipe and create the today world famous pesto alla genovese. They combined basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano and/or Pecorino cheese and EVOO.

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Who still follow the original recipe put in the marble mortar first pine nuts and garlic, that are ground with a circular motion until they became a paste, then the basil is added with a pinch of sea salt; when the mixture become smooth again the cheeses and EVOO are added.

However during the centuries every genovese family have developed its own pesto recipe!

Many add string beans and potatoes cooked together with the pasta.

The Pesto Genovese is traditionally used on trofie or linguine.