The Best Ligurian Pesto

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An authentic pesto recipe from the heart of Italy’s basil country.


2 tbsp. pine nuts, preferably Italian

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, preferably a delicate red-skinned variety, peeled

2 bunches sweet Italian basil, leaves picked, thick stems removed (2 packed cups

6-8 tbsp. olive oil, preferably Ligurian

1 ⁄ 4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 ⁄ 4 cup Pecorino Fiore Sardo (Pecorino Sardo)


In a large mortar, add the pine nuts, salt, and garlic cloves. Using a large pestle, pound and scrape the ingredients into a very smooth paste, 5-7 minutes. Add the basil in small amounts, working it into the mixture after each addition, until all the basil has been added and the mixture is smooth and creamy, 15-20 minutes. Slowly add the oil while stirring with the pestle until emulsified. Add both cheeses and stir with the pestle to incorporate.