Ocimum basilicum, or basil, is a member of the mint family, or Family Lamiaceae, originated in northern Africa, but playing a major role in Italian cuisine. It’s the central ingredient of “Pesto alla Genovese”, a mixture of first quality ingredients (basil, extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and cheese – Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino) made to a paste and typical of Liguria/Italy.
Although you can probably find industrial pesto in your neighbourhood supermarket, nothing really compares to the one you can prepare at home with fresh ingredients. Even if you don’t have any culinary experience I believe you should try it, as I am 100 % sure you will end up with a much better final result. If you want to know the secrets, history, recipes, etc, take a look at “Pesto Perfect“.
The best pesto I’ve tried was at “Trattoria da Maria” (Vico Testadoro 14 r), a small restaurant hidden in the dark streets of Genoa/Italy.
The pesto was served over a fresh, long, flat, narrow ribbon pasta, similar to tagliatelle, but typical of Genoa, the “bavette”.
For dessert Maria served some almond cookies dipped in Marsala wine topped with a mascarpone cheese cream.
The price was quite fair, around US$ 13,00.