Where Pesto Originated?
Pesto is a green coloured herb sauce which originates from the country of Italy specifically the province of Liguria. Liguria naturally grows basil and pine nuts which are the main ingredients used to make pesto. The name pesto comes from the word pesta in the Ligurian dialect which means to pound.
What is Pesto made of? (Most commonly used ingredients)
- Fresh Basil
- Olive Oil
- Pine Nuts
- Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
How to make Pesto?
Pesto is traditionally made by pounding all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle. Nowadays with advanced technology many people use food processors or blenders which get the job done quickly. However, you will still find people who prefer to use the traditional method to get the best results.
Variations of Pesto
In Italy you will find that in different regions the locals will have their own variation of pesto. For example in Calabria they add roasted bell peppers to their Pesto and in Sicily they make a Pesto Rosso which has the addition of tomatoes. Pesto variations can be found worldwide with each one having a little twist in the ingredients used. Some use different types of nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds and or different greens like arugula, spinach, and kale. You will also find variations using different types of cheese like Asiago, Pecorino Romano, or Gouda and variation in the oils used like grape seed oil or canola oil instead of olive oil.
- 2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves (packed)
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- ⅓ cup Pine Nuts
- 3 cloves Garlic
- Pinch of Salt, add more if needed
- Pinch of Ground Black Pepper, add more if needed
- Add basil, garlic, cheese and pine nuts to mortar and pestle
- Pound all ingredients together till roughly mixed
- Slowly add the olive oil while pounding ingredients together
- Continue pounding until you get a coarse uniform mixture (does not need to be smooth)
- Add salt and pepper to taste
Toss the pesto sauce with some freshly made pasta or spread on some toasted bread and enjoy.
How to store Pesto?
Pesto can be stored in an air tight container for approximately a week in the fridge.
Can Pesto be Frozen?
If you are looking to make a large batch and store your pesto for a longer period of time you can freeze it in ice cube trays. This can be a convenient method to use individual portions when needed.