Basil Pesto sauce is one of the most famous italian sauce that is widely used in almost all kitchens. Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese), and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil,Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk).
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Step by Step method
- The marble mortar and wooden pestle are the tools traditionally used to make pesto.
- Wash basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a paper towel but don’t rub them.
- In a mortar finely crush the basil leaves the garlic clove and pine nuts.
- Add salt and cheese to the mixture and keep pounding using a light circular movement of the pestle.
- Drizzle some Olive oil from time to time and keep pounding and mixing until you obtain a very fine and smooth creamy sauce.
- pesto should not be greasy and the amount of oil used must be well absorbed and not floating on top.
- The preparation must be done as quickly as possible to avoid oxidation problems
- You have now obtained about 300 gm of pesto which should be more than enough to dress 6 to 8 portions of Trenette (A type of narrow, flat, dried pasta).
Tips & variations
If you have challenges to import the fresh PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Genoese basil which guarantees high-quality taste and flavor, use your local basil but make sure is not too strong or is one of those variety that tastes almost like mint
This is the very original and traditional Italian pesto recipe, you can replace the cheese with Parmesan cheese that is available at your country, but make sure to choose the best quality kind.
The reason why, you should not use a blender, is because rather than having its juices released by crushing action of the wooden pestle, the metal blade of the blender will chop the leaves and this action will compromise the flavor.