Go Back

Traditional Pesto from Genoa

Course Condiment
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Pesto World Championships


  • 4 bunches Fresh PDO Genoese Basil This basil has a smaller leaf than the type we see in the supermarket here. You could try growing it from seed, but the PDO status reflects the impact of terroir on this product
  • 30 g Italian pine nuts Pinoli (Take care not to buy the cheaper Chinese version, which taste slightly metallic. Look for an italian supplier who sells Pinoli instead)
  • 45-60 g Parmesan cheese Grated
  • 20-40 g Pecorino Sardo Sardinian Pecorino - Grated
  • 1-2 clove Garlic From Vessilico- a small town in Liguria that produces a uniquely sweet garlic
  • 10 g Coarse Salt
  • 60-80 ml PDO Extra Virgin Olive Oil From the Italian Riviera


  1. Wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a tea towel or kitchen paper. Take care not to rub them. Most of the competitors seemed to discard the stems
  2. Crush the garlic clove and pine nuts in the mortar until they are smooth.
  3. Add a few grains of salt and a handful of the basil leaves. Pound the mixture using a light, circular motion, pressing the pestle against the wall of the mortar and turning it in the opposite direction.
  4. Repeat the process till al the basil has been crushed and has started to drip a bright green liquid
  5. Add in the cheeses and blend with the mortar
  6. Pour in a drizzle of oil and blend lightly until the consistency is something a little thicker than double cream, but thinner than a 'paste'