Pesto alla Genovese

Serves: 4 bowls of pasta

Pesto alla Genovese

I remember vividly my first taste of fresh pesto as a teenager on a family holiday to Italy. I think I ordered it every day for either lunch or dinner. I was dying to recreate those flavours when we returned to the UK but back in the Dark Ages it was hard enough to get extra-virgin olive oil let alone fresh basil and pine nuts. As for the parmesan it mostly came in small tubs whose contents resembled smelly sawdust. So my culinary aspirations had to be put on hold for a few years. The ingredients should be pounded with a pestle for an authentic Ligurian pesto but I’m all for an easy life so the food processor wins hands down.


  • 25g fresh basil leaves
  • 40g grated parmesan cheese
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Pesto alla Genovese


  1. Place all the ingredients except the oil in the small bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds before drizzling in the olive oil while the motor is still running. Taste and season with a little salt. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and cover with cling film. Stir into pasta or drizzle into soups and over mozzarella or burrata.