Trofie with pesto

Pesto genovese – the recipe of “Nonna Maura “

Genovese pesto is a classic in the Italian cuisine

Pesto genovese is a sauce from Liguria, more precisely from Genoa – as the name suggests.

It consists of a few ingredients

The main ingredient is basil, followed by pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and cheese. Of course, everything is produced regionally.


pesto ingredients


It is mostly used as a sauce for pasta

Preferably, of course, for the typical “Trofie”, a kind of pasta that is about 4 cm long and turned around itself.




But it also goes well with rice, potatoes or as a garnish for meat, for example, chicken. In Liguria, there is also the Pizza Pesto.

It also tastes very good simply as a spread on bread.


The name “pesto” comes from the way it is prepared, namely crushing it in a mortar

In Italian, the pestle is called “pestello” and crushing means “pestare”.


Typically, in Liguria pesto is made in a marble mortar. The marble quarries of Carrara are not far away.


But the pesto mortar is only used for pesto because the fresh green of the basil rubs off on the white mortar.


If you don’t have a marble mortar, another stone mortar will do. The most important thing is that it’s not made of metal, otherwise the basil will oxidize. You can also use a wooden mortar, preferably made of olive wood.


According to Nonna Maura, it is important that the ingredients are carefully selected:


  • The best basil grows in Pra’, a suburb of Genoa.
  • The pine nuts should best come from Liguria, or at least from Italy.
  • The olive oil must be Ligurian. Olive oil can be very different and for the pesto, the oil from Liguria is best because it is mild.
  • The garlic must be young and fresh
  • As cheese, you can choose either Parmesan or mature Pecorino (sheep’s cheese).

If you use parmesan, the pesto needs to be salted, but not if you choose pecorino because it is saltier.



Nonna Maura does not work with scales and measuring jugs, she takes a little of this and a little of that. She simply knows what the pesto must look like and above all how it is supposed to taste.



Mortar with garlic and pine nuts Mortar with pesto



By the way, Nonna Maura is not my grandmother, but a friend’s mother. She lives in Liguria, near Genoa, and has always made her own “pesto”.


Grazie mille Nonna Maura!


Trofie with pesto





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