One of Italy's classic sauces that has become popular world-wide. It hails from the Liguria region, where the sun-kissed terraces produce big, fragrant basil plants bursting with aroma and flavor. This is a simple sauce, born of the area's readily-available ingredients - great for cooks everywhere because these staples are fairly easily to find in any supermarket.

The name comes from the word "pestare" - to crush or to grind. Traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, it's also okay to use a blender or food processor (we won't tell anyone!) While a type of pesto made with various herbs, hard cheese, and garlic dates back to Roman times, it was the Genovesi that perfected it with basil, and popularized it. You can almost taste the Riviera's sunshine in this dish!



A couple of handfuls of fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP pine nuts
Coarse salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse to roughly chop, then add a little of the oil and pulse again. With the motor running, drizzle in the rest of the olive oil until it forms a thick sauce and blends well.

This sauce is perfect on fettuccine or spaghetti, but is also good on meats, fish, or bruschetta.

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