In Genoa, it is traditional to boil a small peeled potato along with the pasta.
Then the potato is chopped into chunks and tossed with the pasta and pesto.
To serve with pasta, combine with a few tablespoons of hot pasta cooking water to dilute pesto just before it is tossed with the pasta. (Pesto is not cooked.)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
3 cups fresh basil leaves (washed in cold water and left to dry, don’t rub) (discard stems)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped or crushed
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Choose one of the two methods below to combine pesto ingredients.
Add to spaghetti or linguine in heated serving dish, and toss until well coated. T
he Traditional Italian Way – Mortar and pestle method: Pesto is pounded in a mortar and pestle until the right consistency is reached.
Use a light circular movement of the pestle against sides of mortar.
Start with garlic and add basil leaves and salt. Next add walnuts or pine nuts and crush with pestle until they are well blended.
Add cheese and stir until a green paste is formed. Add oil gradually, then butter or margarine.
Blend until creamy and thick.
Blender method: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for one minute.
Pesto should be thick and creamy. Note: If desired, prepare sauce a day ahead, and refrigerate, covered.
Before serving, let warm to room temperature, and mix well. Yield: about 1 cup sauce, or enough for 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine.