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The pesto sauce

The pesto sauce

Every year, when the basil seedlings on the terrace and in the garden are full of beautiful leaves, it is time to prepare the Genoese pesto.
One of the cold condiments that prefer and that lends itself to many uses, in addition to the classic one for the pasta.

I certainly do not pretend to give the original recipe; only the one I use: according to my guests it's perfect!

Although pesto should be used as soon as it is prepared ... sometimes I get to prepare more than necessary and keep it for the next day, or keep it in the freezer.
And given that if there is too much cheese the result when it is thawed is never excellent, I prefer as my rule to always use a minimum quantity of it during the preparation, even if for immediate use: when using it I add the necessary quantity of pecorino and parmesan to complete it.

A small note, then, regarding the oil - strictly EVO - olive; some recipes indicate to add it after pounding the leaves. I prefer to add some more and more for a reason quite simple: since ancient times, in the absence of alcohol, olive oil has been used to prepare perfumes, because among its qualities is to avoid that the essential aromas evaporate. Nothing better then to immediately retain all the aroma and flavor of the basil; mixed and tied to the aromas of garlic and pine nuts!

Pesto, I prepare it that way.


garlic (v. note)



coarse salt (marine)



extra virgin olive oil



Basil (leaves) ca.



grated pecorino



pine nuts



grated parmesan


This list lacks an essential ingredient:
patience to keep working the sauce until it's perfect!


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Put the chopped garlic, pine nuts and part of the salt in the mortar: the coarse salt helps to grind the ingredients and to keep the green of the basil.
Work with the pestle until obtaining a coarse paste.

Add the basil leaves broken up by hand, the rest of the salt and continue to work with the pestle, adding part of the oil.

Now add the cheese, only a small part if the pesto is kept in jars in the freezer.

Continue to stir by mashing and turning the mortar. Add the olive oil gradually to obtain a fluid but thick sauce at the end.

Pesto is ready: enjoy your meal!


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  • Garlic: the standard quantity for garlic is two wedges but, in the case of small wedges, three are legitimate: and if you love garlic, they are fundamental!
  • The ideal is to serve the pesto as a condiment for trenette or trofie; cooking the chopped potatoes and green beans in the same water. But even pens or spaghetti are great!
  • As written above, I prefer to add only the minimum necessary cheese, during the preparation; and in any case only the pecorino. The rest of the grain, diluted with a little oil, can be added directly into the serving tureen; which will eventually be decorated with some fresh basil leaves.
  • In addition to pasta, pesto is excellent even if spread on nice croutons!