Every city and country boasts its own unique traditional foods, and in the case of Genoa, we see Pesto Pesto Pesto. As a port city however, the origins of ingredients can be attributed to the numerous merchants and cultures that passed through these waters.
The organoleptic characteristics of the unique Pra’ basil, the star of the dish, originate in a small town, Pra’ located in the western part of Genova, nicknamed the ‘capital of Basil’ in Italy. The herb, with southeast Asian origins is just one species of annual or sometimes perennial plant where the leaves of the basil are used include lemon basil, holy basil, Thai basil or sweet basil, each with a distinct flavour and aroma suitable for specific dishes. The Greek and Latin listed basil as a ‘royal/kingly’ plant for its many uses from food to perfumes.
The World Pesto Making Championship
Held online this year on March 20th 2021 from Palazzo Ducale, open to both professional and amateur cooks, worldwide, 50% from Genoa and Liguria, 25% from Italy and 25% from the rest of the World. Competitors must only use the ingredients and equipment provided and it is strictly forbidden to use any personal equipment different from the traditional mortar made of marble and a wooden pestle. The same applies to the ingredients which are provided by the completion organisers. High quality fresh PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Genoese basil, Italian pine nuts, aged Parmesan cheese, Fiore Sardo cheese (Pecorino Sardo), garlic cloves from Vessalico (Imperia), salt, PDO extra-virgin olive oil from the Ligurian Riviera.
The winner receives a real pestle made in olive-tree wood with the handle plated in gold, worth about 2,000 euros along with the prestigious title of Genoa World Pesto Champion.
MAKE YOUR OWN
Ingredients for Genova Pesto:
PDO Pra’ basil 70 g
Italian pine nuts 30 g
Aged Parmesan cheese 50 g
Fiore Sardo cheese (Pecorino Sardo) 30 g
Garlic cloves from Vessalico (Imperia) 2 cloves
Ligurian DOP extra virgin olive oil 70 g
Coarse Sea Salt 3g
Genova pesto recipe Chef Roberto Panizza, of the Il Genovese restaurant
Watch in Italian
Uses for the pesto are classically seen as a sauce for pasta - the trofie and testaroli shapes and even the potato based gnocchi but also on bruschetta the toasted bread that is commonly topped with tomatoes.
If you are a vegan then substitute the cheese for 2 cups of nutritional yeast and add the juice of one lemon. *** DISCLAIMER: this is NOT an Italian recipe ~ Grandmas and chefs across Genova will be cursing at this recipe suggestion … !