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Pesto Genovese is one of the most important Italian foods. As usual, traditional recipes spread all over the world with the Italian name and some friends sometimes asked: «Pesto Genovese or pesto alla Genovese?». They are the very same. In Italian, saying pesto Genovese is like saying «pesto from Genua», conversely pesto alla Genovese is like «Genua’s style pesto».

It is a sauce typically made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and grated Parmesan blended together and served hot or cold over pasta, fish, or meat.

All about pesto Genovese

Best matches The most usual meal is spaghetti covered with pesto Genovese, but actually it’s good also on any kind of pasta, second dishes or as pate on bread for a sandwich.

Origin Genua, Liguria (Italy).

History The noun is the past tense of the verb pestare: to pound, to crush.

How to cook pesto


  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • 3x cups of basil leaves
  • 2x cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parm


  • Combine all of them in a bowl
  • Crush everything with mortar and pestle (or with a blender)

mortar and pestle for pesto genovese || italian dinner

Variations on a theme

Pesto is a simple thing to do. The picture is from Lyubov Kardakova (of course not Italian!) and it’s been enough to have some passion for good taste. You can try yourself a preparation with some variations on a theme. The symphony of basil can be composed of something cheaper than pine nuts like almonds or walnuts. You can avoid garlic if you don’t like it, or even overturn the whole recipe. You can crush with mortar and pestle for example dried tomatoes or ricotta cheese as a flavor base, then combined with anything you like the most. For example with dried tomatoes, we can suggest grated Parm. With ricotta cheese, olive oil and pepper can be enough to have a good sauce. Try your variations and send us the results!

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