Monday, July 26, 2010

Pesto Genoese

"Presto presto
Do your very besto
Don't hang back like a shy little kid
You'll be so glad that you did what you did
If you do it with a Bing Bang Bong
A Bing Bang Bong"  lyrics from Showboat with Sophia Loren and Cary Grant.
You might ask what the heck does this have to do with the recipe?  Actually there is no rhyme nor reason.  My brain automatically does these crazy word associations; the lyrics come to mind as soon as my fingers touch the keyboard.  This time the "declencheur" as the French would say, was the word pesto.  I almost called the recipe my "presto pesto" but restrained myself, and happily continued playing the song in my head.  
Anyway I digress, and should get back to the pesto recipe. I first fell in love with pesto back in the late seventies while traveling through Italy, and landing up where else but in Genoa, the birthplace of pesto.  I have been making it ever since, and when basil is bountiful, I make a huge batch to freeze. As far as I'm concerned, it lasts forever.  I use it right through winter on pizza, pasta, bruschetta, and as a rub on chicken or fish.  It's great to have on hand, long after those beautiful summer days are gone.  In the refrigerator it will keep up to a week.  Make sure to cover it with oil to prevent it from oxidizing.
This time around, I didn't add pine nuts to the recipe but feel free to add a handful if you happen to have some on hand.  Either way, the pesto has great flavour. 

Basil Pesto
4 cups basil leaves (washed and dried)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano  grated cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor chop the garlic.  Add the basil, parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pulsate.  Slowly add the oil in a constant stream while the food processor is still on, until finely chopped.  Makes 1 cup.  To freeze, place 6 spoonfuls on a tray which has been lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, wrap individually and transfer to freezer bags. Will keep for several months.

Prepared spoonfuls for freezing.


  1. Looks so green, vibrant and yummy! So glad for the freezing tutorial, I've heard of others freezing pesto but was unsure how. Now I know, thanks to you. I have to confess I've never made my own pesto (I know, I know, not very Italiano of me), but Costco has such a nice pesto in the refrigerated section that I don't think I could make it any cheaper than theirs and it really is authentic and so good.

  2. Ava, I'm pleased that the freezing tip was informative. I agree, Costco has some great products and you can't beat their prices.

  3. Anna - I was thinking about adding walnuts to a pesto. I see here that you don`t even use pine nuts! Do you ever use nuts in pestos?

    This is all because I am looking for something to do with basil I grew this summer. Had to bring it in because of the colder its time I made something more of it. Already used a bunch in the tomato 'canning' I did last weekend!


    1. Jim,what a nice surprise! Thanks for checking out the site.

      You should definitely add pine nuts to your pesto. If my memory serves me right, I did not add the pine nuts due to the exorbitant prices back in 2010 when I posted the recipe.
      Although I myself have never used walnuts in pesto,I have eaten had it in restaurants. They are a good substitute and easier on the budget.
      Nice to hear you succeeded in canning your own much better than store bought. Have a great week.