Munich has a Beethoven Ambassador, the brilliant young pianist Sophie Pacini, but Genoa in Italia has a Pesto Ambassador, one Roberto Panizza. Pesto alla Genovese even carries a special designation from the Italian government. Leave it to the Italians.
I am all out of basilico Genovese, the only basil officially allowed for their genuine pesto, so I made this with just garden variety sweet basil. I also substitued sunflower seed kernels for the mandated pine nuts.
Basil leaves, enough to pack a Food Processor
Sunflower Seed Kernels
2 cloves Garlic
2 pinches coarse Sea Salt
Time to turn this into a paste. Give it a few buzzes with the processor. There isn’t a lot else that these things are good for.
Add the following.
1 cup grated hard Cheese
The standard cheeses are parmesan and peccorino, but all I had was piave, so I used that. Buzz that in, then start to drizzle in olive oil. Keep adding until you get the consistency you want–the current standard is a paste. Then I preserve mine by freezing them in an old ice tube tray, and then storing the cubes in a zip-lock freezer bag. Then my processor gets a break for another week or more.
The framework for this recipe comes from Panizza himself, and an interview he gave to Domenica Marchetti for the book Preserving Italy. That’s why the man is the Pesto Ambassador.