Nonna Stella’s Pesto

This recipe is not for what we normally think of as ‘pesto’. A huge number of Italian sauces start with what’s known as a ‘soffritto’. Usually that means finely chopped onions, carrots ,celery, and possibly garlic. Nonna Stella prepares her soffritto in advance and keeps it in a jar in the fridge. She also adds celery leaves, parsley and basil to the mix. When you need to make a sauce, let’s say for example a tomato sauce, all you need to do is fry a couple of tablespoons of the pesto for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook it down for ten minutes and you’re done. Fast food Italian style 🙂 . This is possibly the most useful recipe I’ve picked up. It will keep almost indefinitely in the fridge, if you remember to keep it covered with about a centimeter of oil.

pesto ingredients

You’ll need:-

  • Good olive oil
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery (Including leaves if possible)
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • The quantities are a matter of taste, but I use roughly equal quantities of onions and carrots and halve the quantity of celery.
  1. Peel the onions and carrots.
  2. Roughly chop the onions, carrotts and celery and whizz in a food processor, adding a little oil from time to time, until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Add a good handful each of celery leaves, basil and parsley and process again, adding more oil when necessary, until the herbs are incorporated into the paste.
  4. Transfer to a clean jar, a traditional pickle jar would be ideal, and pour a least a centimeter of oil on top.
    Keep in the fridge until needed.

pesto finished

Here’s Nonna Stella herself to show you how it’s done.

The pesto will only be as good as the ingredients you use. Above all, use the best olive oil you can find. Nonna Stella is very proud of the oil produced by her grandson in Cassano. They don’t have to buy oil in her house. I wish I had a supply 🙂


3 thoughts on “Nonna Stella’s Pesto

  1. Ciao e grazie per aver postato i video di mia nonna. Volevo avvisare te e i tuoi gentili utenti che è uscito il sito Un portale dove troverete nuove ricette di nonnastella, descritte, e stampabili ed inoltre ogni utente potrà condividere le proprie video ricette con gli altri in maniera tale da creare un portale a difesa del patrimonio culinario! Ci vediamo quindi su

    Hi, My nameis Michele Sforza, i’m the grandson of “nonna stella”. I inform you that is out new site dedicated to my grandmother and her recipes. But, this is a site also, where all the users can upload your video recipes to share your cook culture.
    So, we can meet on the
    seee you…bye!

  2. Pingback: The pesto of Nonna Stella (and how not to do stuff) « ye olde bread blogge

  3. Lovely recipe, whih I made 2 weeks ago and the mix seems to have improved in flavour in the fridge with time, I did add 2 garlic cloves and reckon I can add more! I have added to bolognaise, and pizza sauce bases, and its so aromatic when it cooks. Thanks for sharing this. Best wishes to Nonna Stella.

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