I just returned from some time away from “In The Kitchen”. A hiking trip in Italy! Part of the trip was in Cinque Terre, a rather rugged, breath-taking, coastline portion of the Italian Riviera.   Cinque Terre, “The Five Lands” is comprised of five villages, located in Liguria. The trip usually begins or ends in the capital of Liguria, Genoa. Genoa’s claim to fame, along with being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, is pesto sauce.

While traveling through Italy the food was amazing. Everything was always so fresh. Fresh seafood, focaccia, local wines and many of the restaurants even had their own gardens, herb, fruits and vegetables. Using only fresh ingredients makes each dish so appetizing and healthy.

The main ingredient in pesto is fresh basil. Many shops had pesto available to purchase for tourists, but why buy something in a bottle when it is so easy to prepare at home and can be made fresh each time? The recipe consists of only a few ingredients that are readily available in all grocery stores, year round. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, can be done ahead of time, and a great sauce to use for entertaining. It’s not just for pasta; try it on vegetables, bread and seafood. Buon appetite!


* 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup pine nuts
* 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil and pine nuts, in a food processor, pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup


Paese che vai, usanza che trovi.

English translation: The country you visit, the customs you find.

Idiomatic meaning: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.