Pesto alla Genovese

Serves 2 


4 handfuls fresh basil (leaves only – no stems)

2 heaped tablespoons pine nuts

½ cup/125ml good quality extra virgin olive oil

½ clove garlic

3 tablespoon finely grated parmesan

1 teaspoon finely grated pecorino

1 pinch coarse sea salt 


1. Combine sliced garlic and a little olive oil in a mortar and pestle and crush until combined. 

2. Add the pine nuts little by little and crush until combined but not too fine. 

3. Add the basil a little at a time, adding a pinch of the coarse sea salt and gradually crushing the ingredients.  Check the consistency and add more olive oil if needed. 

4. Add parmesan cheese, in stages and continue to grind. 

5. Add pecorino and grind until you have a creamy but still slightly coarse consistency. 

NB: Pesto is a cold sauce. It should be tossed through the hot pasta, perhaps with a ladle of hot pasta water to help it assimilate. 

It can be made in a blender but in this case it’s advisable to add an ice-cube, to avoid the mixture warming up   

Pesto – Liguria’s gift to the world – is a very versatile sauce; it can not only be added to pasta, but can also be served on top of focaccia or bruschetta, or combined with tomatoes to make the recipe below…
Pasta alla Portofino:- It’s very simple; combine equal parts of pesto and fresh tomato sauce, toss it through your hot drained pasta and serve with parmesan.