The Best Homemade Pesto alla Genovese

The Best Homemade Pesto alla Genovese

The Best Homemade Pesto alla Genovese


Easy homemade green pesto. Never buy store bought again!

Do you love pesto? Want to learn how to make Homemade Pesto? Keep reading! This homemade pesto is super yummy and so easy to make. You will never buy store bought again, when making your own is this easy! All you need is basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan.

This herby homemade pesto makes practically anything taste better. Not only can it be added to pasta but can be used to fry eggs, try it as a replacement to butter in sandwiches!

If you have a basil plant thriving on your sunny balcony, window sill or garden and are thinking what can I do with this? Green pesto is the only answer! Here is my simple recipe.

pesto with pine nuts

Where is Pesto from?

Pesto alla Genovese AKA green pesto is a popular condiment or sauce from Italy. Specifically, it is from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, in western Italy. It traditionally consists of basil leaves, pine nuts, a hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Sardo, garlic and salt, all blended with olive oil.

Pesto is a cold sauce, a symbol of Genoa and the whole of Liguria. The condiment has for several decades been among the best known and most popular sauces in the world. To make real Pesto alla Genovese you will need a pestle and mortar and lots of patience. My recipe is going to be saving us time without losing flavour!

pesto and pine nuts

What do i need?

  • Basil – this is the main ingredient of green pesto. I suggest using nice unbruised fresh European basil. There are over 60 varieties of basil, most will work apart from Thai basil which has a very strong and different flavour.
  • Pine nuts – these are traditionally used in pesto but can be substituted with walnuts if you are allergic. I used organic pine nuts from planet organic – these are not cheap!
  • The classic recipe calls for Parmigiano-Reggiano . You can also use pecorino another popular hard Italian cheese.
  • Olive oil – be sure to use extra virgin for the most delicious and authentic result.
  • Garlic – I love garlic so this is an unmissable ingredient for me.
  • Salt and pepper – I like to season my pesto with salt and pepper for extra flavour. The pepper is not traditional and is optional.

You will also need a food processor if you don’t have one. I highly recommend making this an excuse to get one; it’s a great kitchen investment that you will use forever. I have a very old mini Cusinart processor (the link is the newer version) and my big 3 in 1 Foodie Ninja.

Tips & Tricks

  • The key for this classic pesto is not to over process. Pulse the ingredients in the correct order just as much as they need. That way the herbs will maintain their verdant colour without bruising or losing flavour.
  • If you have the patience why not try and use a pestle and mortar. Start by adding the garlic first followed by the basil then pine nuts and finally the cheese and olive oil.
  • Follow the order used in my recipe to get the best tasting pesto. Basil can lose its strong taste and aroma if it is exposed to the air too long and over-processed.
  • Finely grate the parmesan before adding to the food processor for best results.
  • Add the olive oil to the processor while in use to help emulsify the sauce.

How do I store Homemade pesto?

Store the freshly prepared pesto in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Before closing the container cover the sauce with a layer of oil. Store your pesto in a cold fridge. Pesto can also be frozen and then thawed in the fridge or at room temperature.


Homemade Pesto Serving Suggestions –

Pesto can be served with anything you like really. I love it just by itself with some al dente pasta and freshly grated parmigiano – okay and lardons, trust me just try it!

This week I made a seriously good Pesto Orzo Salad with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and chunks of parmesan! It was so good. Check out the recipe here!

Try this pesto on bread, in sandwiches and with fried eggs!

Looking for more salads? Check out my favourite summer salad recipe here!

The Best Homemade Pesto alla Genovese

Quick and easy green pesto made using basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil!
Servings 12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • Food processor
  • Silicone spatula
  • Airtight container
  • Cheese grater


  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • pinch salt and pepper


  • Wash and dry your basil.
  • Place the basil and pine nuts into the processor and pulse several times.
  • Scrape down the sides and add the garlic and cheese and pulse several more times.
  • Scrape down the sides again before closing again and pulsing while slowly adding the olive oil in a continuous stream. Once combined scrape down the sides for a final time before adding the seasoning and pulsing one last time.
  • Pour your pesto into an airtight container and cover with olive oil.


  • Make sure you dry your basil leaves as much as you can before processing this helps keep the aromatic flavour.
  • Adding the olive oil slowly while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating
  • Using a silicone spatula to scrape the sides helps get a smooth consistency with no waste!
Author: Daniel Devereux
Cost: £8
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Dips, Pasta, Quick & Easy, Sauce, Summer

Did you make this Homemade Pesto?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @chilliandlife on Instagram and hashtag it #chilliandlife

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