Italia's Pesto

From the Coppola family kitchen: Sauces

When Italia was cooking, there was no problem getting Italian pine nuts. Now they are hard to find. If you cannot find pine nuts that are not from China, consider using walnuts instead.

Mortar pestle of pesto along side some pine nuts and shredded cheese.

  • 2 cups, lightly packed, fresh Genovese bail leaves, chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces (¾ cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts, chopped
  • Black pepper in a mill

Put the basil and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Season generously with salt, add half the olive oil and pulse several times.

Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, add the remaining olive oil, the cheese, the pine nuts or walnuts and several turns of black pepper. Stir well, taste and correct for salt.


Italia Coppola, who dedicated her book, Mammarella: Mama Coppola's Pasta Cookbook, to her mother Anna Pennino, to her husband Carmine and to her three children, August, Francis and Talia, who have inherited both the Neapolitan spirit and its cooking.