Gnocchi with Pesto alla Genovese

4 to 6 Servings

30 minutes

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We were taught to make pesto alla Genovese in its birthplace—Genoa, Italy, by chef Roberto Panizza. It traditionally is made in a mortar and pestle; we use a food processor for convenience but follow the tradition of processing ingredients separately to ensure we preserve the appropriate texture of each. Seek out true Italian Parmesan cheese, as well as pecorino Sardo, a sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia. If you can’t find pecorino Sardo, the best substitute is manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese. We’ve paired the pesto with gnocchi, a classic combination; either potato gnocchi, “instant” gnocchi made with potato flakes, gnocchi di farina or even store-bought gnocchi will do well, but the gnocchi must be just-cooked and warm because it will not be heated during the saucing process. If pasta is your preference, the recipe makes enough pesto to sauce 12 ounces of uncooked pasta. Be sure to reserve some of the starchy cooking water before draining, and add just enough of it while tossing the pesto and pasta so the noodles are nicely sauced.

4 to 6



Don't toast the pine nuts. In Italy, the pine nuts for pesto are used raw. Don't be tempted to add all the ingredients at once to the food processor. Adding them in stages ensures the pesto has the correct consistency and texture, and that it won't end up thin and watery, the result of overprocessing.

30 minutes


  • ounces Parmesan cheese (without rind), chopped into rough 1-inch pieces

  • 1

    ounce pecorino Sardo cheese (without rind), chopped into rough 1-inch pieces (see headnote)


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