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The Hirshon Genovese Pesto

  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • Generous pinch coarse sea salt
  • 3 ounces basil leaves (from about a 4-ounce bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 ½ tablespoons (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Pecorino Fiore Sardo
  • ½ tablespoon Pecorino Pepato (if unavailable, use Fiore Sardo)
  • ½ cup mildly flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons softened top-quality butter


  1. In a mortar and pestle, combine garlic and sea salt and grind to a paste.
  2. Add basil leaves a handful at a time and grind against the walls of the mortar; it’s easier to use a circular grinding motion than to try to pound the leaves with the pestle. Continue until all basil leaves have been crushed to fine bits and have released their green liquid.
  3. Add pine nuts and gently crush with pestle, then work into a paste with basil and garlic.
  4. Add the grated cheeses and the butter and continue to use the pestle to grind into a paste.
  5. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, working it into the pesto with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Pesto can be served with pasta right away, or transferred to a jar or container, covered with a small layer of olive oil, sealed, and refrigerated overnight.
  • Category: Recipes


  • Calories: 386.54 kcal
  • Sugar: 0.37 g
  • Sodium: 216.63 mg
  • Fat: 39.81 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.15 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.23 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.63 g
  • Fiber: 0.56 g
  • Protein: 6.61 g
  • Cholesterol: 28.53 mg
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