Pesto Italiano

As a good Italian, I love PASTAAAAAAAA!! And I love all the sauces for the pasta.

As a #diabetic, #pasta is something that I can’t have regularly anymore. If I do have some pasta it’s only on #special occasions.

This was one of the most difficult things to give up and I figured out a way to work around it… I will share soon the alternatives to pasta that I have discovered. 😎

As much as it was obvious from day one that I had to manage my carb and therefore sugar intake, I never thought that Pesto sauce could spike up my blood sugar sky high… it took me a few times of unpredictable high blood sugar test to figure out that it was due to the Pesto sauce I was buying. It is not related to a specific brand. It is about the content of the pre-made sauce ingredients.

I’m looking at one label now and it is listing literally:

Sunflower seed oil; cashew nuts; Parmigiano+ Pecorino; whey powder; salt; sugar; extra virgin olive oil; basil extract; natural flavouring; buttermilk powder; garlic.

MA PERCHE'?? (Why?????) First of all there are twelve ingredients in a sauce that usually requires a maximum of seven….. WHY SUGAR?

When I came to this realization, my first reaction was anger towards myself for assuming that there was no sugar… then I figured out that I could do my own Pesto! It’s easy, has no effect whatsoever on my blood sugar levels and not to brag but it is much, much, much tastier than the supermarket one!

Here you go my Pesto all’italiana recipe!

To be honest I usually do not follow a specific recipe for #Pesto.

I follow my instinct ( and my friends hate me for it when I’m trying to tell them how to do it …. Put a little bit of this and then add a bit of that…ahahahahahah).

So considering I’m trying to be helpful here I took the quantities and the recipe from @giallozafferano. Giallo Zafferano (#giallozafferano) is one of the places to go for Italian recipe and they have also a very user friendly app. Yes, yes you are right, it is in Italian… but guys with all due respect Italians are better at Italian food! (ah, BTW Alfredo sauce is NOT ITALIAN!)

Giallo Zafferano Original Recipe


& Instructions

  1. Start preparing the pesto by placing the peeled garlic in the mortar together with some coarse salt. Begin to crush till the garlic has reduced to cream

  2. Once the garlic is reduced to cream start adding the basil leaves adding also additional salt (this will help you to better crush the leaves and keep a bright green color)

  3. Keep crushing the basil against the walls of the mortar while turning the pestle,, from left to right and at the same time rotate the mortar in the opposite direction, until a bright green liquid comes out of the basil leaves

  4. Once the basil liquid is out add the pine nuts and start again to beat to reduce in cream

  5. Only then start to slowly slowly add the Parmigiano and the Pecorino to make the sauce creamier

  6. Finally add the olive oil and keep mixing till you get an homogeneous sauce

Wonder Sugar ? Revised version


  • 25 gr of Basil

  • 50 ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 25 gr Parmigiano Reggiano DOP

  • 25 gr Pecorino Cheese

  • 8 gr pine nuts (not Cashew!!!!!)

  • 1/2 garlic clove

  • Salt

& Instructions

I need to be honest. I don’t have a mortar and I usually I don’t have enough time to hand make everything… so here you go a much faster and lazier way to prepare the pesto:

  1. Add the Basil, the garlic, the salt and a little bit of the olive oil to the mixer

  2. Once it gets creamy add the other ingredients slowly, slowly (piano, piano)

  3. Keep tasting and adding a bit of each ingredient till you reach your favorite balance of flavours

  4. Once you achieved your perfect balance just make sure it gets creamy by adding more parmigiano/pecorino


1- The basil leaves should’t be washed but cleaned with a soft cloth (this is from Giallo Zafferano and I religiously follow it as it will affect the color of the sauce)

2- As per the original recipe, the basil leaves to use are the Ligurian or Genoese basil narrow leaves. Not other types with large leaves as often they have a mint aroma. Living outside Italy I can’t be so picky cause I will end up not having any pesto! But I have planted my own basil.

3- The key also in this recipe is the quality of the ingredients. Trust me…it makes a big difference!!

4- If you want to use the mixer as I do, make sure you use it on intermittent mode to prevent the mixer from heating up. The heat will affect the final visual result (the pesto will look darker) and might affect the flavour too (it can get a bit sour)

You can keep the fresh Pesto in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days ensuring the sauce is covered with a layer off olive oil. You can also freeze it in small jars and defrost in the fridge or at room temperature.

I use the pesto not only on the pasta but also on vegetables, chicken etc etc.

Yesterday I had it with Broccoli and 30 grams of ‘fake’ #Barilla (@barilla) chickpeas pasta! It was super yummy!