How To Make Authentic Basil Pesto

Ingredients to make traditional basil pesto

We know it's a trifle peculiar for a pesto company to publish a recipe for making it at home, but bear with us... there’s a method to our madness.

You see, here at GO! Pesto we don’t make the classic basil pesto that we all know and love... the one known the world over as Pesto alla Genovese.

We consider it one of the world's greatest sauces and love eating it whenever we get the chance. But there are so many companies producing it that we don't feel we can bring much more to the party.

In particular, there are some very special producers in pesto's heartland - the north Italian region of Liguria - who make small-batch, unpasteurised pesto that simply can't be rivalled. They have exclusive access to the finest basil on the planet... basil so good that in 2005 it was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.

How to make pesto
If you've never attempted it, making pesto from scratch is, in our opinion, one of the most enjoyable culinary activities there is. Yes, you can make it in a food processor, but do it the traditional way - using a pestle and mortar - and you will be rewarded with a far superior result.

The original basil pesto

The official pesto recipe
The one and only recipe acknowledged by the Pesto Genovese Consortium as the truly genuine, authentic pesto, uses just seven ingredients, many of which have been granted PDO status.

You would have to do an insane amount of legwork to source the exact ingredients listed below, but use the finest quality versions you can find and you'll be rewarded with a sauce that's way superior to any basil pesto you'll find in UK supermarkets.

Riviera Ligure olive oil (PDO)

80g

Genovese basil (PDO)

75g

Pinoli Pine nuts

30g

Parmigiano-Reggiano (PDO)

30g

Pecorino Fiore Sardo (PDO)

20g

Vessalico garlic

1 clove

Trapeni sea salt

pinch


Method
Check your garlic clove doesn't have a green "germ" in the middle (if it does, simply remove and discard) and add, along with the salt, to a marble mortar and crush with a wooden pestle, utilising the salt as an abrasive to help break the garlic down.

Add the pine nuts and continue to rotate the pestle around the sides of the mortar to create a paste.

When the nuts are fully broken down, add the basil leaves and continue to work the sauce for a good few minutes until you have a smooth consistency.

Add the cheeses, work the sauce for another minute and then slowly drizzle in the oil until the sauce is super creamy.

Basil pesto is best served immediately to prevent the herbs oxidising and dulling the colour of this incredibly vibrant sauce. However, we do have some pretty solid recommendations for using up leftover pesto.

If pairing with pasta, make sure to just warm the pesto using the residual heat from the noodles. You don't want to cook the sauce because that will destroy all those amazing, fresh flavours that you’ve just put so much effort into encapsulating.

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