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Serves for 4

50gr fresh basil leaves, 100ml extra virgin olive oil, 50gr of parmesan cheese (6 tablespoons), 20gr of pecorino (2 tablespoons), 1 garlic cloves, 15gr pine nuts, coarse salt to taste.

To make true pesto alla genovese, you’re meant to use a marble mortar, a wooden pestle and only the trademarked basil grown in Genoa. After all, “pesto” means “crushed,” not “blended”! But I won’t tell the Consortium if you don’t, and it’s still delicious done the modern way. However, for you die-hard Italian foodies, here’s the real deal:

Wash and dry off the basil leaves. In the mortar, put some grains of coarse salt with one garlic clove. With the pestle, crush the garlic until it’s creamy. Add the basil a little at a time: it is said that for each clove of garlic you should add thirty leaves of basil. Putting in a bit of coarse salt helps grind the leaves down. Add the second clove and the remainder of the leaves. The essential oils of the basil are contained in its tiny little veins, which, for best results, shouldn’t actually be crushed but torn as you gently roll the pestle. When you start to see that bright green liquid of the basil, add the pine nuts and crush them. Then add the grated cheese bit by bit, stirring as you go. The last touch is the olive oil. Don’t use anything but extra virgin (Italian, if possible) or you’ll have wasted some of nature’s most divine ingredients.

Your pesto is ready to toss through your pasta. Pesto also adds major oomph to sandwiches, pizzas and soups. Take advantage of the short basil season by making a large quantity to pull out of the freezer later, when summer seems like it was just a dream.

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