Hello my lovely Self-Care Seekers! I have this amazing annual family tradition of making super delicious pesto that is shared and relished by everyone in the family. Nothing brings people together like good pesto. Right? I am so excited to share the recipe and some interesting facts about pesto. Let me get you acquainted with pesto pronto!
The Birth of Pesto
Just like me, Pesto sauce originates from Italy, but northern Italy. The word pesto in Italian comes from Pestare, that means to pound or crush and it was originally prepared using a marble mortar and wooden pestle. The primary ingredients of classic pesto are basil, pine nuts, olive oil, pecorino and cheese and garlic.
Nutritional Benefits of the 5 Main Ingredients
Basil is the superstar ingredient to any classic pesto, a good source of vitamin K and contains magnesium, which can help to improve blood flow by allowing muscles and blood vessels to relax.
2. Pine Nuts
Pine nuts contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Research has shown its potential use in weight loss by curbing appetite. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid that helps to lower LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ and increases HDL or ‘good cholesterol’ in the blood. Pines are an excellent source of B-complex and vitamin-E and are one of my favourite gluten-free tree nuts.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains vitamins E and K and is loaded with antioxidants.
4. Pecorino Cheese
According to Italian researchers this hard, Italian cheese from sheep’s milk is rich in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and regular consumption can lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and health-compromising inflammation.
The good old superfood, garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Garlic has loads of minerals such as phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron manganese and copper, and is loaded with powerful anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Variations of Pesto
Yummy! My mouth is watering. I can eat pesto straight from the jar but it is actually very versatile. It can be used in soups or as a bread spread, a dip for veggies or a topping on mashed potatoes, as a stuffing in your chicken or you can use it with eggs, you can pair it with grilled meat or mix it with butter, toss it in with pasta and enjoy to the fullest. With pesto you can get super creative. There are also some variations of pesto:
1. Pesto Alla Genovese
Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and Pecorino come together to make really beautifully tasty classic king pesto.
2. Pesto Alla Trapanese
This Sicilian pesto is much lighter and fresher tasting. It uses almonds instead of pine nuts and is garnished with fresh tomatoes.
3. Pesto Agli Agrumi
This ‘Citrus Pesto’ contains lemon, orange or both along with almonds instead of pines. We can also add capers in this variation.
4. Pesto Rosso
Pesto rosso or ‘red pesto’ is a version of the condiment using sundried tomatoes and almonds to get a rich red colour. It can also include roasted red peppers, which give it a deliciously smokey taste.
The main fat in Pesto Modenese is lard. It gets crushed or pureed with Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, rosemary or thyme and sometimes black pepper. The result is a deliciously creamy, decadent spread traditionally served on bread or pizza.
Like any food I recommend you eat pesto fresh but it can be stored in clean mason jars for up to a week in the refrigerator. Homemade classic pesto is infinitely more enjoyable than the store-bought versions. Trust me there is nothing like the aroma of a fresh batch of this rich flavoursome green sauce. Oh, its divine!
Want to bring the taste of Italy to your kitchen? Then try my easy and simple amazing recipe for Homemade Classic Pesto.
Buon Appetito & Ciao for now 🍷
- Kalmbach, L. (2020, July 10). 10 Creative Ways to Use Pesto. Cook Smarts. https://www.cooksmarts.com/articles/creative-ways-to-use-pesto/
- Kitchen, T. G. (2021, June 14). Beyond Basil: The Different Types Of Pesto in Italy. Giadzy. https://giadzy.com/food/beyond-basil-the-different-types-of-pesto-in-italy/
- Pesto Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. (n.d.). Verywell Fit. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from https://www.verywellfit.com/pesto-nutrition-facts-and-health-benefits-5201175
- Recipes, S. (2016, January 2). The History of Pesto Sauce. Splendid Recipes and More. https://splendidrecipesandmore.com/2015/03/11/the-history-of-pesto-sauce/