How to make pesto sauce at home. Step by step recipe

Genoese pesto sauce in the mortar It should be Intangible Heritage of Humanity. And it will not be because the Italians have not tried, but apparently the UNESCO He denied it in his day because he considered it a recipe that does not need to be preserved because it is already recognized worldwide.

In any case, it is a sauce to feel national pride. And we mean homemade pesto made with good ingredients and in a mortar; the one that fills the whole house with the smell of Italy. Those that we sell in supermarkets, or even in gourmet stores, can be a quick resource for some occasions, but they have nothing to do with it.

Best of all, it is a very simple sauce to make at home. We only need the famous seven ingredients and a mortar. If you want to save some time and effort you can use the mixer, but we recommend that if you have a mortar at hand you do it in the traditional way; because the difference and the wonderful ritual are well worth a few extra minutes in the kitchen.

Pesto sauce recipe (Bigstock)

For the recipe we were inspired by advice given by one nonna from the Italian region of Liguria (cradle of this sauce) in the first chapter of the documentary Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, one of the most interesting cooking series broadcast by Netflix. We leave you some approximate measurements, but what works best here is the measurement to the eye and gradually adding each ingredient in the mortar to our liking. The most important thing to make a good pesto is to try to get quality products: even if it is a little more expensive, it will be worth it.


  • A mortar (preferably marble)
  • 30 gr of natural pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic (2 if you like it more powerful)
  • 50 gr of fresh basil leaves
  • A pinch of coarse salt
  • 45 gr of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 15 gr of grated pecorino cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Recipe to make homemade pesto

  1. We start by crushing the Garlic in our mortar until a butter-like cream is made.
  2. We then add the pinions and we work them very well until we crush them completely. They should be like a paste.
  3. It is the moment of the basil. We incorporate it together with the pinch of coarse salt, since with it it will be easier to crush the leaves. We do not add more salt, because the cheeses themselves already contain enough. We can add it to the end if we have fallen short.
  4. We integrate the cheeses that we have previously grated. The original recipe says it should be 2/3 parts of Parmesan and 1/3 of pecorino. We mix everything well until we get a mixture that is very pasty.
  5. We are adding very little by little the olive oil in the form of a thread while we stir gently and with enveloping movements, until we achieve the consistency that we like the most.
  6. It only remains to cook al dente a good Italian pasta and enjoy!