A Passion for (fresh!) Pesto


Written by Edwardo Montard

Pesto is one of the simple delights of Italian cuisine. Originating in Genova and made traditionally with basil leaves, pine nuts, crushed garlic, Parmesan cheese and Peccorina sardo, a cheese made with goats milk. The ingredients are combined in a stone or marble mortar and crushed and ground with a wooden pestle. This is the traditional pesto alla genovese used as a sauce for pasta dishes, as an addition to minestrone soup or a soupe au pistou.

Spinosini pasta with fresh pesto sauce

Spinosini pasta with fresh pesto sauce

If all of this sounds a bit too traditional, a simple method of producing a pesto sauce is as follows:

  1. 2 cups packed with fresh basil leaves
  2. 2 cloves of garlic
  3. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  4. 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  6. 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese

Place all the ingredients and approximately 1/3 of a cup of the oilve oil in a food processor (a food processor will produce a better result than a blender as a blender can spin too fast).

Combine and mix the ingredients and drizzle the remainder of the olive oil into the food processor. Continue spinning until the mixture is blended and smooth and “eccola“, here’s your very own home-made fresh pesto sauce ready to serve with your favourite pasta. And best of all, the pesto sauce will keep for a few days if chilled in a refrigerator.


Contributor Edward Montard is a seasoned traveller and an expert on pretty much everything he turns his hand to.   



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