This easy Pesto alla Genovese recipe will be the hit of any meal. Liguria is one of the 20 regions located on the coast of the Liguria Sea in northeast Italy. Genoa is the capital of Liguria and is famous for their basil leaf. Genovese Pesto originated from this town in the 16th century. The word pesto comes from the Genovese word pestâ, which means “to grind basil leaves with other ingredients.” —Yvonne Hennigan

Pesto alla Genovese Recipe


Serves 3 to 4

2 cups packed basil leaves
¾ – 1 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
¼ – ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup pine nuts
1 to 2 cloves of peeled garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 oz bag of pappardelle pasta from Handmade Pasta by Yvonne

To prepare the pesto:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and process until combined. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the mixture is well blended but still has some texture, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add a pinch of salt and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  2. The pesto can be used immediately or frozen in small containers to use later. Do NOT place frozen pesto in the microwave to thaw! Thaw at room temperature. Place about 2 tbsp of pesto in a serving bowl.

To prepare the pasta:

  1. In a large 6- to 12-quart pot (do not use the strainer of a pasta pot) bring at least 6 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add a large handful of salt to the boiling water. Add the 8 oz. of pappardelle pasta to the boiling water and time for exactly 2 minutes.
  2. When finished, do NOT strain the pasta. Using tongs, remove the dripping pasta from the boiling water one scoop at a time and place in the serving bowl on top of the pesto. Gently toss the pasta with the pesto after each additional tong full of pasta. More pesto may be added as desired.
  3. If necessary, add a small amount of the hot reserved pasta water to loosen the mixture. A small amount olive oil may also be added. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

Recipe by Yvonne Hennigan / Story and Styling by Kate Benz / Photography by Adam Milliron

Don’t miss a single delicious thing: Subscribe to TABLE Magazine’s print edition.

Subscribe to TABLE's email newsletter

We respect your privacy.


Related Articles

Plant-Based Food is Not Boring

No more impossible burgers and tofu.

5 Burger Recipes and Beer Pairings for Memorial Day

Cook up a unique burger and pair it with the perfect beer.

B-25 Shot for Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival

Enjoy a shot inspired by Pittsburgh's three rivers.