Pesto genovese sauce is one of the most typical products of Liguria, an italian region locaetd in the north-west of the country. Therefore, pesto genovese pasta is the main dish of Ligurian culinary tradition. The pesto sauce requires just a few ingredients, like basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. All of these ingredients have a really intense flavour: the result is that pesto is perfect all year long, either in the summer but also during the cold months of the year. Many culinary experts agree that the recipe for pesto sauce is fairly recent and dates back to the nineteenth century, when it was mentioned for the first time by chef Giovanni Battista Ratto. However, it’s quite clear that pesto is the evolution of a much older recipe, dated back to the Medieval centuries, name “aggiadda” (literally: garlic sauce). If you want to challenge yourself with pesto genovese pasta, I suggest you my favourite kind of pastas that go perfectly with pesto: “linguine” are the best, but “trenette” and “trofie” are amazing too. Try them and let me know!
1 pound linguine or trenette pasta
1 big bouquet of basil, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Start your pesto genovese pasta by washing the basil under fresh water, then detach the leaves from the twigs and dry gently blotting with a clean cloth. Peel the garlic cloves and put it in the blender, blending at low speed and slowly (very slowly!) pouring olive oil. Add the pine nuts, while continuing to whisk. Every now and then, turn off the blender and, with a spoon, check the consistency and homogeneity of the sauce, which should not be too lumpy. Now add salt and pepper. Take a bowl and pour your pesto sauce, covering with a drizzle of olive oil, to prevent the pesto from becoming dark.
Put a large pot with water on the heat, add some salt and when the water is boiling, cook your pasta in it. When the pasta is ready, drain it but keep 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Put the pasta back in the pot, add the pesto and stir well, adding the cooking water you kept on the side and the grated parmesan cheese. Keep stirring and finally serve your hot pesto genovese pasta.