PESTO ALLA GENOVESE Max cost £5.00, $8 Takes about 30 minutes

Classic pesto from Genoa Serves 4 as a main course

If ever there was a reason to grow basil in your garden or window box, this is it. While working as an honorary chef (no salary) in France a few years ago, I had twenty people to feed three times a day. Pesto was a particular lunchtime favorite, so the region soon became a basil free zone.
This sauce does not keep well.


Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts and chopped garlic and a good pinch of salt into a blender or food processor and reduce to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl add the two cheeses and stir thoroughly. Add 2 tablespoons of hot water, the softened butter (if using) and keep mixing until both have been amalgamated.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer to warmed plates.

In the trattorie of Genoa they serve you a plate of trenette with a couple of tablespoons of fresh pesto on top. You mix the pasta and sauce together, sprinkle liberally with freshly grated parmesan cheese, then eat. Heaven on a plate!