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Pesto alla Genovese

Pesto means pounded or crushed, and the word comes from the same roots that gave us pestle, as in mortar and pestle, the traditional tools to make pesto. Many people today would just as likely use a hand blender or a food processor. What we simply call pesto originated in Genoa, Italy, hence the longer name pesto alla genovese. Pesto is a fresh sauce (uncooked). Below is an easy but delicious recipe to make pasta with pesto and semi-sundried tomatoes, perfect for a primo piatto or first course dish of a traditional Italian meal. Follow with a fish or meat dish with your favourite veges for the second course.


Make your meal even easier and just as delicious by using the ready-to-use Pesto alla Genovese by Terra Maris, with authentic Genoese basil and Italian pine nuts.

Setaro pasta, Terra Maris pesto alla genovese and semi-sundried cherry tomatoesSetaro pasta, Terra Maris pesto alla genovese and semi-sundried cherry tomatoes



Fettuce with pesto and semi-sundried cherry tomatoes

Serves 4


200g Fettuce pasta (Setaro)

100g semi-sundried cherry tomatoes (Terra Maris)


For the pesto:

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons Italian pine nuts

2 pinches of salt

1 cup fresh basil, washed and dried

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Measure out all the ingredients.


In a large pot or saucepan, bring water to the boil. Add some salt to the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente.


While the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto.


With a hand blender or food processor, chop up the pesto ingredients adding each one at a time slowly in the order of the list.  


Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, pine nuts and salt until paste-like. Add in the basil. Gently, break/crush using circular motion with the pestle so the leaves don’t over-bruise. Mix in the cheese. Slowly pour in the olive oil while stirring constantly until fully incorporated.


Assemble the dish:

When the pasta is al dente, reserve some water, drain out the rest, and return the pasta to the pot. Add at least half the pesto sauce to the steaming noodles. If needed, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to make it easier to mix the sauce in. Add more pesto according to preferred intensity.

Toss the cherry tomatoes into the pasta.


Serve and enjoy.



Fettuce with pesto and semi-sundried cherry tomatoesFettuce with pesto and semi-sundried cherry tomatoes



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