If you should describe Liguria, this tight region between the Maritime Alps and the Ligurian sea with only one word, it would definetely be Genova’s basil, and the pesto made of it. This fragnats plant grows everywhere in the region and you can find it in gardens, window sills and balconies. Local urban legends say that if women put a flowerpot of basil in front of their door, or on the balcony, it means that they are just into you.
The genovese basil can grow up to 45-60 cms, its leaves ahave the form of a spoon and it is protected by the European Union as it is cultivated only at this precisely delimited territory.
The best way you can prepare genovese basil is to make a “good pesto alla genovese” You will need only a few, but premium quality ingredients and then you can go to pesto heaven. You will need parmigiano reggiano or pecorino sardo cheese, extra virgin olive oil (possibly Ligurian), pine nut, garlic (preferebly from Vessalico), salt and of course genovese basil.
Then just get your mortar made of marble and start working,.
Use the following quantities:
100 gramms of basil
40 gramms of pine nut
100 gramms of grated parmigiano
20 gramms of pecorino sardo
100 gramms of extra virgin olive oil (from the Ligurian riviera)
1-2 cloves of garlic
6 gramms of salt
nPut the garlic and the salt first in the mortar so that when you add the washed and dried basil it won’t lose its colour. It’s important to mash the ingredients by pushing it to the sides of the mortar with slow movements. After the basil we will add the cheese and the pine nut and in the end, the oil that we add drop by drop to the mass.
In case you do not eat it right after preparatio, just out it in glass containers and just leave it like that for a couple of hours. When the oil comes up to the surface you can close the glass. You can conserve it like this for months, but be careful, it is going to become darker.
You will have pesto mostly with pasta (typically with trofie), Italians put it on the pasta without warming it up. You can add a bit of the water where you had the pasta boiled. In Liguria locals put it also on bread, or in minestrone soup.