The Dirty Stall

Spaghetti di pesto alla genovese

Posted on: May 4, 2010

I’ve never tried eating pesto before even though I’ve passed by the bottled stuff in the supermarkets so many times when I went to look at sauces. But since now I finally decided that I wanted to try it out, I wanted have to make it by hand so that it would be fresh!

Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa, the capital of Liguria, a province in northern Italy where basil was very abundant. The sauce is called pesto because of how it was originally made: by crushing basil leaves with a pestle and mortar. Together that is how the name of the sauce was known as pesto alla genovese.

Traditionally, pesto is made of basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses and salt. There are other variations such as pesto all siciliana or pesto alla calabrese.

But I’m going to stick with the original Genovese version for this dish which also calls for boiled potatoes and green beans. However since I didn’t have green beans at hand, I substituted it with broccoli.

Of course the most important ingredient are the basil leaves! The smaller leaves provide the subtler flavour but I didn’t want to waste the other leaves so I used them anyway.

Sliced potatoes and broccoli. You’re supposed to boil the potatoes first then slice them really thinly but here I went for the reverse.

Boil them together with the pasta.

Two kinds of cheese: parmigiano reggiano and pecorino romano

In the blender I put in pine nuts, salt, and garlic.

Then squash in all the leaves.

Does it blend? Yes it does! After blending, mix in the 2 kinds of cheese by hand with a tbsp of butter. The result is a rich and vibrant pesto!

Now I toss the spaghetti with the pesto, potato slices and broccoli. It really is superb, the pesto has this refreshing and minty taste to it that lifts the entire dish. The potato slices provide a creamy feel to the spaghetti which is complemented by the crunch of the broccoli. Yummy!


10 Responses to "Spaghetti di pesto alla genovese"

O_O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
next time u wanna prepare this, please invite me to your kitchen. I’ll wash the plates for you! Anything! Anything!
OH my tian!!!!

And may I add that this is the best set of photos I’ve seen in your entries. Very Good!
I love the horizontal shot of the blender.
Its very good.
Simple. precise and straight to the point. woh! *thuMbs UP!

The sause on plate shot is very good composition as well.

Wat if we add a small piece of lemon really small… or cherry tomato… or Brocolli with a small part of stem to it… ( 😀 sorry carried away by photography thoughts) *it’ll kinda distract the original purpose of your photo though.

Good job JingWei!
I’m impressed!

and yes, please… invite me next time~!!!!


Thanks for the nice comments! Next time I’ll invite you over when I’m making this dish 😀

For this set of photos, I’ve switched over to using a DSLR to see the difference in quality and there’s definitely an inprovement!

And with the photo composition tips from you and some other friends, I’ve been experimenting in framing the shots differently to see how I can make them look more appealing 😀

Seems to have gotten a good reaction from everyone but I’m sure I can improve on it! Especially the final shot of the pasta, could have been ‘posed’ better, like with a small floret of basil leaves like you normally see.

It would help a lot if I got a better lens also. Using f/4.5 under home lighting is really bad lol

oki, now u r sounding more technical them me. 🙂
but hey, don’t be distracted by d phototaking n overcook ya? 🙂

Yes! Hope d timing works for me 😉

Haha yeah taking photos while cooking is actually quite a challenge!

pesto is awesome baked on chicken or fish. but of course i use the bottled pesto lah.

Ooh I’ve never tried that. Maybe I will try it next time. You should try making your own pesto, it really is superior to the bottled one! 😀

[…] Having made pesto the mechanical way with a food grinder, I decided to try making it the old-fashioned way with a pestle & […]

[…] I went to pound out some pesto because the home-made one still tastes the […]

where i can get cheap basil?

I usually get mine from Cold Storage. 1 package is usually enough for 2 ppl

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