[WATCH] Pesto alla Genovese

In the heat of summer when basil is abundant, make Pippa Mattei’s simple pesto in large quantities and freeze it for the winter

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Pesto alla Genovese

Serves 4


  • ½ kilo spaghetti
  • 3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • Handful pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1/2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or more
  • 4 tbsp or more Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 50g butter


  1. Wash the basil leaves and discard the stems.
  2. Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a small pan, heat and add the pine nuts.
  3. Cook over a low heat, until the nuts are a golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Place the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, butter, salt and pepper into the food processor with metal blades (or pound with a pestle and mortar).
  5. Process until the mixture is roughly chopped. With the processor still running, add the olive oil in a thin stream, allowing it to blend with the pesto mixture until a soft consistency is achieved.
  6. Transfer to a bowl, test for seasoning, (the taste will be very strong at this stage) add the Parmesan cheese and mix again. Cover with cling film and set aside till needed.
  7. Serve the pesto with spaghetti or serve in sandwiches.

Tip: Pesto sauce freezes well, but don’t add cheese until the frozen pesto has thawed and you are ready to use.

Get more of Pippa Mattei’s recipes in her books 25 Years In A Maltese Kitchen and Pippa’s Festa.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, aired on 22 May, 2015.