Pesto Genovese

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.

Pesto Genovese

This pesto Genovese recipe is a spoon-it-straight-from-the-jar-and-slather-it-on-everything sorta sauce with the taste of Italian tradition, the seduction of sophistication. You can toss it with pasta, natch. Although let’s see how many other uses we can mention for it. Ready? Let us know 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 coarse, 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.

Pesto Genovese Recipe

  • 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 process the basil leaves in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • 2. Add the garlic and pine nuts and crush or pulse repeatedly until combined.
  • 3. Using a metal spoon, stir in 1/3 cup olive oil followed by the Parmigiano-Reggiano. (You may need to transfer the mixture to a bowl to easily mix the ingredients.) If a more drizzle-friendly consistency is desired, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. 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, if you wish to store the pesto, pour it into a clean jar, top with just enough olive oil to cover the surface, screw on the lid, and tuck it away in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
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