The Italian Riviera boasts a bounty of beaches and resort towns, such as the tiny but tony Portofino and stylish Rapallo. The “Riviera of the Setting Sun” runs north from Genoa up to the French border. Genoa is the region’s principal city and it is here where possibly the world’s best pesto is created by hand with the incredible fresh olive oil from the nearby hills of Liguria, the fresh small-leaved basil of the area, and local aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Like its cousins, Argentinian Chimichurri and French Pistou, Pesto is a complex combination of green herbs and local ingredients. Use lots of garlic.
Pesto alla Genovese – Crushed Basil Sauce
- Food Processor or blender
- 2 cups Fresh basil leaves, ripped and tightly packed
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp Pine nuts
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ⅓ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- 2 tbsp Pecorino romano cheese, grated
- 3 tbsp Butter, softened
- Grate chunk of parmesan and scoop ⅓ cup into a small bowl. Reserve extra in refrigerator. Do the same with romano cheese, adding 2 tbsp to the reserved parmesan and storing the rest.Place garlic and salt in food processor. Pulse 2-3 times. Add basil, pine nuts, and olive oil to bowl and process until almost smooth. Place in a bowl and mix in cheeses and then the softened butter.Serve with linguine or any other pasta or roast vegetables.
- If freezing extra, do so without cheese or butter which lose flavor when freezing. Defrost and the add cheese and butter right before serving.