The Traditional Genoese Pesto Sauce
The mortar has to be made in marble (in Italy is preferred the “marmo di Colonnata”, marble of Colonnata). Colonnata is a tiny village just above Carrara in Tuscany (famous for the white or blue-grey marble quarried). Colonnata is a town of 300 inhabitants perched on a rocky spur of marble tucked between the quarries.
The pestle has to be preferably a softwood pestle, such as apple wood, elm wood, etc.. It is not recommended to use a pestle made with olive wood because it is heavier.
This is how to prepare a great genoese pesto sauce using mortar and pestle.
4 bunches of fresh PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Genoese basil, which guarantees high-quality taste and flavour.
50 g italian pine nuts
40-50 g 30 month-aged parmigiano cheese
10-20 g Fiore Sardo cheese (Pecorino Sardo) and 15-month-aged
3 garlic cloves from Vassalico (Imperia)
5-6 g coarse salt
80 cc PDO extra-virgin olive oil from the “Italian Riviera”, renowned for its sweet and fruity taste, which adds flavour to the basil and dressing.
In a mortar finely crush the garlic clove, remove it from the mortar with a spoon and put it on a plate. Then crush the pine nuts until they are smooth and put them on a corner of the same plate where you put the garlic clove.
Then smash the parmigiano cheese and place it on the plate. Repeat the same process with the Fiore sardo cheese or pecorino sardo.
At this point add a few grains of salt and the basil leaves, then pound the mixture using a light circular movement of the pestle against the sides.
When the basil drips bright green liquid, add half of each ingredients smashed before (garlic, pine nuts, parmigiano and pecorino sardo cheese). Mix all the ingredients and taste it. The flavor has to be harmonious. If necessary, you can correct with the remaining ingredients.
Finally, pour in a thin layer of PDO extra-virgin olive oil from the Italian Riviera, which lightly blends the ingredients without overdoing.
The preparation must be done as quickly as possible to avoid oxidation problems.
If you are visiting Liguria we suggest to join our “Tasting and Touring Genoa” tour. In fact, while touring you will taste the simple but extraordinarily delicate products of the ligurian cuisine.