Pesto Genovese Secrets

Run to the farmer’s market, grab the most fresh bunch of basil you can find, and get ready to seriously up your Pesto game. Roberto Panizza is sharing his secrets for the perfect Pesto Genovese.

This is the same recipe that he uses for the World Pesto Championship, the international competition invented by Roberto to spread the love (and culture) of Pesto.

“The beauty of Pesto Genovese is that it’s not an exact science. Each family has their secret, their sequence of movements, their balance of flavors”, says Roberto.

Roberto, aka The Pesto King, is the world’s expert of everything Genova, from basil to pine nuts to mortar moves. He’s quite the Pesto celebrity, read about his Pesto Genovese on Saveur or discover why the Washington Post’s calls his Pesto recipe “a lot like [Marcella] Hazan’s”.

Whether you’re springing for a mortar & pestle or going for something electric, Roberto’s tricks will not fail you.

BASIL: Only use basil leaves, no stringy stems. Make sure you pat the leaves dry to avoid a watery sauce.
GARLIC: Take out the inner part of the garlic to help flavor and digestibility.
CHEESE: It can be added grated or in chunks. For a more delicate flavor, use Vacche Rosse Cheese; add Pecorino too if you are going for a bolder Pesto.
THE MOVE: Pine nuts might form a thick layer on the bottom of the mortar. Do not despair! Simply scrap it off with a spoon and keep crushing your basil.