Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you Gabriele (yes, like Gabriele Basilico, the photographer): beloved cooking fellow of Luca and mine. If I could bring it to South Africa with me I would do it.
In a few weeks we will definitely move to Johannesburg and not being able to pass him off for a passenger, I asked him for forgiveness and then I cut his poor leaves to transform it with care in a jar of pesto.
My great-grandmother, Bianca, was Ligurian so I particularly love this recipe.
Are you ready? Wash your hands and let’s start!



  • 50 gr fresh basil leaves washed and dried
  • half cup extra virgin olive oil (choose a fruity one, it sould not be too sharp)
  • 1 tbsp lightly toasted pine kernels
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese DOP or Grana Padano
  • 2 tbsp seasoned Pecorino Fiore Sardo
  • a pinch of coarse salt










MORTAR & PESTEL: First of all, be careful when washing the leaves. Use cold water and dry carefully, don’t bruise them.
Put the salt and the garlic into a mortar and crush with a pestel until creamy.
Add the pine kernels and the basil leaves, a little at time. Be quick when crushing the leaves, otherwise they will darken.
Add the grated cheese and then the oil and continue crushing until you reach a smooth and creamy texture. Season to taste.

MIXER: Put the blades in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will prevent the basil from oxidizing with the heat of the blades.
Then proceed as above. Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix well for one minute at maximum power.

TIPS: Work pesto quickly. If your pesto is too thick add some olive oil. Try it with trofie (typical pasta from Liguria) or strappatelle!