Pesto alla Genovese
Pesto is the past tense of the Italian verb pestare and means "pounded". It is used to define any kind of crushed (with mortar and pestle) sauce, typically including nuts or seeds, garlic, herbs, cheese and oil. Many variations are possible, but the traditional one is Pesto alla Genovese.
The original recipe for fresh Pesto Genovese consists of only seven ingredients:
-Fresh Genovese Basil (D.O.P.)
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Parmezan Cheese (D.O.P.)
-Pecorino Romano Cheese (D.O.P.)
(-optional : Walnuts)
This tradition is protected by the non-profit organization Consortium of Pesto Genovese, founded in 2003.
In Genova we found just the right producer, who is very passionate about creating "the best taste of pesto in the world". He developed an evolution of the traditional recipe, with only the best ingredients. Cashew Nuts and Apple Fiber are added to naturally extend the shelf life of the product, by absorbing the natural level of moisture of fresh basil. Pecorino Romano is taken out, because this cheese has a high bacterial count, and he does not pasteurize the product to avoid loss of flavour.
Genovese Basil now has a D.O.P. (Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, or Protected Designation of Origin) to promote and protect the use of its origin. It is a variety of sweet basil, with large bright-green leaves and a floral, delicate flavor.
Usually according to tradition the land is fertilised in May. The natural fertiliser is then worked into the soil by machines. This system of preparing the soil avoids the necessity of chemical fertilisers. Then the soil is mechanically disinfected by steam. In June the seed is sown in parallel rows into the soil, using machines which distribute the seed at a width which will later permit the basil to be gathered by hand.
The watering, using only spring water, is daily scheduled by the computer. Thanks to summer sowing, the plants do not need to be treated with pesticides. The plants are protected from disease by the warm and airy Ligurian climate. 30 days after sowing, the plants are ready and the basil is harvested by hand. The uppermost parts of the plant are picked, the part richest in aroma with the characteristic flavouring, which makes special our Pesto alla Genovese.
Once gathered, the basil is processed immediately. Firstly it is washed to eliminate all impurities, then drained off and finely chopped. The rapidity of this operation not only avoids the heating of the composite, to which salt and oil has been added, but offers the further advantage of maintaining the appearance, preserving the natural flavours and ensuring even a greater hygiëne.
When the Genovese Basil in extra virgin olive oil and salt is received from the farm, after the addition of a surface layer of olive oil which guarantees natural conservation, it is stored in a refrigerated cell at a constant temperature of 2° C, until it is used for preparing Pesto by adding the other ingredients.