A Recipe for Pesto Alla Genovese

Of all of the foods that have become synonymous with Italian culture, it is probably pasta that stands as one of the most important. A staple of many people’s diets all over the world, the ease of cooking pasta is complemented ably by its versatility. The simple fact is that you can enjoy pasta in so many different ways, that it should come as no surprise that it has become one of the most popular foodstuffs that the world has to offer.

That also brings us nicely around to the point of today’s article. Every so often we like to offer up a recipe that you can follow to create a classic Italian dish, and we have decided to do just that this week.

So what dish are we going to make today. Well, if you were paying attention earlier on you’d have guessed that it’s a pasta dish, and it’s one that has been a staple of the Italian diet for many years.

We are, of course, talking about Pesto Alla Genovese Pasta. So let’s stop delaying and get right into the recipe. Of course, we’ll also offer a few tasty wine choices to complement the dish at the end of the article.

The Ingredients

You can’t cook a great meal without ingredients, so let’s take a look at what you’re going to need for Pesto Alla Genovese:

  • At least a cup of fresh basil leaves, though we tend to lean more towards a cup and a half.
  • A quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. We think that enough to fill a quarter of a cup should be enough, though you can add a little more if you’re a real cheese fanatic.
  • A couple of tablespoons of toasted walnuts.
  • Half a cup of extra virgin olive oil.
  • A single teaspoon of minced garlic.
  • One pound of farfalle pasta. Whether you choose dried or fresh pasta it up to you, though you’ll find that many traditionalists swear by the fresh stuff.

So what are you going to get in return for all of those ingredients? Well, when you’ve finished cooking you should have a meal that suitable for serving four people. Best of all, it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare, which makes this the ideal meal for those times when you’re in rush, but still want to make some great food for the family.

The Steps

Of course, the ingredients don’t mean much if there isn’t a recipe for you to follow. These steps are nice and easy, so even a cooking novice should be able to follow them and make a great Pesto Alla Genovese.

Step One

Slice and dice your basil leaves. You could do this using a knife, or throw the leaves into a food processor and let it do the work for you. Regardless, you should mix your chopped up basil with your salt and ground pepper.

Step Two

Ideally, you will have a food processor for this next step. Throw your garlic, cheese, and walnuts into the processor and let it do its work until you have a nice, thin sauce. Make sure you get rid of all of the lumps.

This is your pesto sauce, and you should put it to one side after you’ve made it. There’s also nothing stopping you from making it a day in advance of the meal. If you go that route, you’ll need to seal it in a Tupperware container and pop it in the fridge. We also recommend coating the sauce with a very thin layer of olive oil, as this will prevent it from going darker than anticipated in the fridge.

You could also choose to freeze it, but bear in mind that this will have an effect on the taste. We recommend making it fresh on the day. It only takes a couple of minutes.

Step 3

Get a large pot and fill it with water, and just a dash of salt. Bring that water to the boil, then add your pasta. Follow the instructions on the pasta packaging in regards to how to cook it. Usually, it won’t take much more than ten minutes to have your pasta ready.

Step 4

Drain the pasta water, but try to keep about a quarter cup of the liquid aside, you may be using it in a moment.

Step 5

Pop your pasta in a large bowl and add your pesto sauce. Toss the mixture until it’s all well mixed. This is where you may need that cup of cooking water. Keep an eye on your pasta. If it looks drier than it should after you’ve mixed it with the pesto, just throw in the water and keep mixing.

Step 6

All that’s left to do now is serve. Voila, you have a gorgeous Pesto Alla Genovese.

The Perfect Wine Combinations

We’re all wine aficionados here, so it stands to reason that you want a few wine recommendations for this lovely dish. We recommend all of the following:


If you want to enjoy your pesto in the same way as those in Genoa do, there can be no better choice than a good Vermentino. This beautiful white wine adds a dash of acidity to the dish, which is a nice contrast to its generally smooth, and slightly bitter texture.

However, you also get a beautiful smattering of tropical fruits thrown into the mix, thanks primarily to the wine coming from the Mediterranean region. It’s the wine of choice in the region that Pesto Alla Genovese calls home, so it has to be our top choice.


We haven’t forgotten about all of you red wine enthusiasts. If you prefer something a little more complex, we think a nice Barbera works well with Pesto Alla Genovese.

Ideally, you should choose a fruity variety to get that nice contrast, with perhaps a touch of earthiness thrown in as well. We also think Pesto Alla Genovese goes well with a nice Chianti, so the choice there is up to you.



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