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Pesto genovese recipe without garlic: discover the ingredients and how to prepare it

Genoese pesto original recipe without garlic: discover the ingredients and the procedure to prepare it

Genovese pesto recipe, the king of Italian sauces but without garlic

Pesto Genovese is one of the most famous and beloved Italian condiments, particularly in Liguria.

With its fresh and aromatic flavour, it reigns as the king of Italian sauces.

The traditional recipe calls for garlic, but many people find its taste too strong or have difficulty digesting it.

For this reason, a garlic-free version has emerged, which retains all the goodness of the original seasoning but is lighter and more digestible.

Let’s see how to prepare it!

Ingredients for 4 People:

  • 100g of basil, preferably DOP Genovese
  • 60g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 40g of pecorino
  • 40g of pine nuts
  • 50g of extra virgin olive oil, Taggiasco D.O.P
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Wash the Basil:

Start by washing the fresh basil leaves under running water. Use a salad spinner to ensure the leaves are thoroughly cleaned. It’s important to wash the basil gently to avoid damaging them.

  1. Dry the Basil:

After washing the basil leaves, pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. It’s essential to dry them well to prevent oxidation, which could ruin the bright green colour of the pesto.

  1. Prepare the Ingredients:

Once the basil is dry, we’re ready to prepare the pesto. Traditionally, it’s made using a marble mortar and wooden pestle, but you can also use a blender if you prefer.

  1. Use the Mortar:

If you choose to use the mortar, start by grinding the pine nuts with a pinch of salt. This helps create a granular base to add the other ingredients to. Then, add the basil leaves and begin pounding gently, gradually adding the grated cheeses and extra virgin olive oil. Continue pounding until you achieve a creamy and homogeneous consistency.

  1. Use the Blender:

If you prefer to use a blender, place the pine nuts and salt in the blender and pulse briefly. Then add the basil leaves and grated cheeses. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream while blending on low speed, working in intervals to prevent the blades from overheating, which could oxidise the basil leaves and alter the flavour and colour.

Helpful Tips:

  • Mortar vs. Blender:

The mortar is the traditional and preferred option because it allows you to work the basil gently, avoiding overheating the leaves. This method preserves the bright green colour and fresh flavour of the basil. If using a blender, work in intervals and at low speed to prevent overheating.

  • Add Oil Gradually:

Extra virgin olive oil is essential for the optimal consistency. Add it gradually while working the ingredients, ensuring they emulsify properly. If it’s too thick, you can add a little extra oil to achieve the desired consistency.

  • Pasta Cooking Water:

A trick to make it lighter and less calorific is to add some pasta cooking water. The starch in the water helps make it creamier and smoother. You can add it directly to the mortar or blender while mixing the ingredients, or add it at the end when tossing the pasta.

Ideal Pasta Shape:

  • Short Pasta:

Trofie is the most suitable regional pasta shape for this extraordinary condiment. Thanks to their twisted shape and rough surface, trofie can perfectly collect and hold the sauce, ensuring a uniform flavour with every bite.

  • Long Pasta:

Linguine is another excellent choice. Their smooth surface allows the pesto to coat each strand of pasta, creating a delicious and well-balanced dish.

Variations and Suggestions:

  • Cherry Tomatoes:

Some chefs add fresh cherry, datterino, or pachino tomatoes to the finished dish for a touch of colour and a hint of sweetness that pairs well with the aromatic basil flavour.

  • Soups and Stews:

It’s also great added to minestrone, grain and legume soups, and pea veloutés. A spoonful can transform a simple dish into a flavourful delight.

Final Tips:

Pesto Genovese, whether in the traditional version with garlic or without, is a versatile and delicious condiment.

To achieve the best taste possible, always use fresh and high-quality ingredients.

The basil should be very fresh, preferably DOP Genovese, and the cheeses should be of excellent quality.

Want to try authentic garlic-free Pesto Genovese?

Visit df-gourmet and explore the sauces and condiments category.

You’ll find Italian food excellences that will bring the authentic taste of Liguria directly to your kitchen.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savour one of Italy’s most beloved sauces, prepared with passion and high-quality ingredients.

Buon appetito!

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