Fettuccine al Pesto. A Genovese tradition.
Genova the land of pesto and it’s origins can be traced all the way back around the 16th century. Pesto comes from the Italian “pestare” which means “to pound”. Originally it was made in a marble mortar with a pestle. Although the pesto has become common as to identify anything that is made by pounding, the Pesto all Genovese is and always will be, the original.
Growing up I remember listening to my grandmother talking to her friends and my aunts about pesto. It felt as every woman was competing for the ultimate pesto. I have to say, I have enjoyed the benefits of that wonderful competition. This recipe has been passed down to me by my mother which I have seen her make all my life.
You can always make your own homemade fettuccine time permitting. Click HERE for my own recipe published a while back. Super fun and delicious too, of course.
- To reduce the bitterness of the basil, make sure that you blanch it for less than a minute.
- Play with the garlic clove amount to use. Too much can overpower the basil and the Parmigiano cheese and that is not the Italian way.
- Add the cream at the last minute and do not forget to add some of the cooking water to the serving dish to bind it.
- Fettuccine or any wider and longer pasta go very well with the pesto.
My grandmother used to add a potato with the pasta during cooking. The natural starch of the potato adds the extra bit of tastiness to the pesto, not to mention the perfect amount of starch to the pasta for the sauce. This step, however, is optional.
Fettuccine al Pesto
- 20 mins total
- 5 mins prep
- 15 mins cook
- serves 4 people
2 bunches fresh basil, leaves removed from the stems and washed
1 tablespoon pine nuts
½ of a garlic clove
4 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 potato cut in slices (optional)
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Put water in a pan and bring it to a boil. When boiling add the basil leaves and blanch for less than a minute. Drain. In a blender or food processor, place the basil, pine nuts, walnut, garlic, Parmiggiano, and olive oil. Blend on high. When all the ingredients are well blended, add the heavy cream, and give it a quick pulse.
If using the potato, place the cut potato in a large pan of salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
In a serving dish place the butter, the pesto, and add the cooked pasta. Add some of the water as you mix. The pesto should be of a nice light green color and the pasta should be moist. Generously grate Parmigiano cheese over the pasta.
Equipment and products that I used to make Fettuccine al Pesto Genovese:
If you liked my recipe, you’re sure to love these useful products and related dishes.