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Pasta with Genoese pesto

How to make the perfect pesto at home, with video recipe

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Pasta al pesto genovese

How to prepare Genoese pesto at home to make pasta with pesto

Easy to say Pasta with Genoese pesto, but this Original recipe of the Ligurian tradition, deceptively simple, actually hides a lot of pitfalls. I am also telling you about this in the VIDEO RECIPE on my YouTube channel.

First of all, like all coded recipes, it must adhere to what the discipline. As you know, the pesto genovese (and i don't pesto “genoese style”) is a Pat, a traditional agri-food product of the Liguria region: ingredients and process are coded. If you love pesti, since there's not just basil, have a look at all my PESTO RECIPES, fast and delicious, perfect for SALADS PASTA OR RICE. You can also use this homemade pesto to prepare wonderful LASAGNE WITH PESTO with potatoes and green beans.

The original recipe of Genoese pesto

The The recipe is that of the Ligurian Pesto Consortium and only provides for 7 ingredients. The small-leafed PdO Genoese basil, l & #8217; olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano Dop, Pecorino Dop (Pecorino Fiore Sardo un smoked or Pecorino Sardo Dop ripe) and then pine nuts, garlic and salt. No mixer, Genoese pesto is made at mortar (there's also a national competition). Purists will tell you that the perfect oil is an extra virgin olive oil of the Ligurian Riviera Dop. Yet: pesto and pasta (trenette-, linguine or trophies, you add potatoes and green beans, that cook in the cooking water together with the pasta. In short, impossible to confuse Genoese pesto with most of the “Genoese pesto” that you find on the market ready in the jars. The main differences with these products? The use of seed oil, of different cheeses and cashew nuts instead of pine nuts, in addition to non-PDO brand basil.

Tradition has it that, in the cooking water of the pasta, Potatoes and green beans also cook into pieces. Potatoes, releasing starch, facilitate the formation of a creamy emulsion and the chlorophyll of green beans enhances the taste of pesto. I always prepare it this way, i recommend you try.

Why pesto gets dark?

But why does basil pesto turn dark? The real problem with pesto is oxidation: basil contains many polyphenols, molecules that in contact with oxygen and high temperatures deteriorate by undergoing an oxidation process, responsible for the dark color. If you've ever put a fresh basil leaf on a steaming plate of tomato paste you've realized it yourself. The perfect remedy does not exist: it is useful to use all cold refrigerator ingredients and work mortar pesto. Cold inhibits enzyme responsible for oxidation, polyphenoloxydase. While the minipimer or blender incorporates too much air into the compound, and therefore too much oxygen, main culprits of pesto oxidation.

Once the pesto is ready, cover it with extra virgin olive oil, to protect it from air and therefore from oxygen. The good news is that this way the pesto will remain more or less green. The bad news is that, in contact with hot pasta, you'll still dare. In short, a dark pesto is not an indication of a bad pesto, but simply of a natural pesto, which does not contain preservatives. And now I wish you good day.

Pasta with Genoese pesto

Pasta al pesto genovese


Portions: 4 Preparation: cooking:
Nutrition facts: 250 calories 20 fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 4 voted )



50 grams of small-leaf PDO Genoese basil

50 milliliters of olive oil (light fruity)

90 grams of Parmigiano reggiano Dop

30 grams pecorino dop

2 cloves of garlic (sweet, such as Sulmona or Nubian garlic)

20 grams pine nuts

coarse salt


400 grams of trenette, linguine or trophies

2 medium potatoes

a handful of green beans

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano PDO


Pasta with Ligurian pesto Dop (original recipe)
The recipe of Genoese pesto is relatively simple to prepare, but I advise you to follow the little tricks I give you and to look at the VIDEO RECIPE step by step. Wash the basil in cold water and dry it perfectly.

In the mortar (if you don't have it or don't want to use it, use the blender more than a minipimer) beat the garlic and a pinch of coarse salt until everything is reduced to cream. Add pine nuts (I'll tough them down for a few seconds, until they become slightly shiny) and keep beating.

When the pine nuts are also reduced to cream, add the basil and work on the mortar beating lightly and with a rotary movement. And a little long work and requires a good arm: basil should be reduced to very small pieces and must be mixed with garlic and pine nuts cream. When you get a light green paste, add parmigiano reggiano and pecorino cheese, always working the mortar compound. Finally, combine the extra virgin olive oil flush and regular salt, If necessary.

At this point, to make the pesto remain of its green color, you have to cover the surface with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, that will not let air pass through and avoid the phenomenon of oxidation. Surely your Genoese pesto will be very compact, but don't worry. It will reach the right density by adding some pasta cooking water.

Put plenty of water in a pot, salt and add the chopped green beans, when the green beans will be almost tender, add the cut potatoes and small and even tocchetti. After 2 minutes, Add pasta (trenette-, trofie, linguine are the classic formats, but you can choose the one you prefer).

While the pasta is cooking, put the pesto in a soup bowl (preferably cold) and dilute it with a little pasta cooking water, always keeping a little bit aside in case of need. Drain the pasta al dente, pour it into the soup bowl and keep with the Genoese pesto sauce. Serve the pasta by making the dish with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves. Also serve some Parmigiano Reggiano Pdo grated apart. Bon appétit!


THE SUGGESTION: If you want to store pesto in the refrigerator you can store it for 2-3 days in a well-closed jar, covering the surface with extra virgin olive oil. You can follow the same procedure to freeze it. I advise you to consume it within a maximum of one month, otherwise it will lose its organoleptic properties.

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