This pesto Genovese is a classic Italian tradition that’s simple to toss together and has countless uses that extend way beyond tossing it with pasta.
This pesto Genovese is a spoon-it-straight-from-the-jar-and-slather-it-on-everything sorta sauce that boasts all the taste of tradition and all the seduction of sophistication. You can toss it with pasta, natch, although let’s see how many other uses we can think of for it. Let us know your faves in a comment below. Originally published July 18, 2012.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Should You Use A Mortar and Pestle Or A Food Processor?
Many of our recipe testers swooned over the rustic and imperfectly uneven texture lent to the pesto by making it in a mortar and pestle. Others found it quite cumbersome to make this pesto in anything but a food processor. You know your technology threshold and your desire for rusticity better than anyone. We’ll let you figure out whether you should use a mortar and pestle or a food processor for yourself.
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 15 M
- Makes about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup really tightly packed basil leaves, stems removed
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled
- 6 tablespoons pine nuts, raw or lightly toasted
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
- Salt to taste
- 1. Place the basil leaves in a mortar and crush them with a pestle until they collapse into a pulp or toss the leaves in a food processor and process until they’re finely chopped.
- 2. Add the garlic and pine nuts and crush or pulse repeatedly until combined. Transfer everything to a bowl if you’d like a little more elbow room as you stir.
- 3. Using a metal spoon, as slowly as you can, add the 1/3 cup olive oil into the mixture 1 spoonful at a time. Then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano. If a more drizzle-friendly consistency is desired, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; otherwise, leave it as-is. Taste and, if you feel it’s necessary, season with salt to taste, although given how salty Parmigiano is, you may not need any added salt. Use immediately or, to store the pesto for later, pour it into a clean jar, top with just enough olive oil to completely cover the surface, screw on the lid, and tuck it away in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.