Bright green pesto in a thin white bowl.

Pesto alla Genovese. Pesto, made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and pecorino, is local to the Cinque Terre—five small villages on the Mediterranean between Genoa and Pisa. Many summers ago we were shown how to make this vivid creamy pesto by Gianni Franzi in Vernazza, where fragrant basil grows on terraced cliffs going down to the sea. It is best with trofie, the twisted spiral shaped pasta of Liguria, but we also like pesto with Casarecce which has grooves in the middle to hold the sauce. In The River Cafe we add a generous spoonful of pesto (never heated) to our seasonal zucchini and minestrone soups. Shop The River Cafe has the soups, bags of pasta, the parmesan and the olive oil and the pesto. We will send it all to you—with the promise of the summer we have been waiting for all year.


Casarecce pasta coated in bright green pesto with a sprinkling of parmesan.
Casarecce with Pesto alla Genovese. Casarecce is a pasta more often served with sauces from Sicily, but we think it goes perfectly with pesto.


Trofie pasta coated in bright green pesto with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Trofie with Pesto alla Genovese. Trofie is the traditional pasta made with just flour and water for pesto in Liguria, and often combined with green beans and finely sliced potato.


Bright green minestrone of peas, broad beans, green beans and zucchini with pesto swirled on top.
Minestrone Primavera with Pesto. This soup is from the first River Cafe Cook Book—peas, broad beans, green beans, zucchini. And pesto.


A creamy green soup made with green zucchini and orange zucchini flowers.
Roman Zucchini Soup. A summer soup of Roman zucchini and zucchini flowers cooked with a little cream, basil and parmesan. Delicious with pesto.


A bowl of basil leaves, a bowl of ground black pepper, a bowl of sea salt, a clove of garlic, some pine nuts, a wedge of parmesan, a wedge of pecorino, a bottle of River Cafe olive oil and a bowl of bright green pesto.
Pesto ingredients Matthew Donaldson


Photography by Matthew Donaldson.

We are offering free UK delivery until the 11th of June on orders over £100. Use the code SPRINGDELIVERY21 (one use per customer).

Visit Shop The River Cafe to place your order.

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