We’re crushing on pesto! In this article, we’ll be discovering all the particulars behind this popular sauce and condiment. 

Pesto’s Hometown: Genoa, Italy 

It is a little hard to imagine a world not filled with pesto. But, alas, at one time pesto was only a twinkle in Italy’s eye. More specifically, pesto was a well kept secret in a region of Italy known as Liguira. Liguria is comfortably tucked on the northwestern coast of Italy. A little crescent shaped plot of land known for beautiful beaches, abundant fishing villages, and plethora of basil. Liguria is the hub for basil and the driving force behind our popular pesto. 

Image Credit: Couleur from Pixabay 

Building Blocks of Pesto

Known formally as Pesto Genovese, pesto sauce is a simple combination of 5 ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, and pine nuts. The word “pesto” is derived from the Italian verb pestare, which means to crush or pound. This is the essence of a good pesto sauce. The crushing, traditionally accomplished using a mortar and pestle, turns all 5 ingredients into a vibrant, fragrant green paste. We think it’s worth making pesto in the traditional manner at least once. For an easy step by step guide, check out this recipe for Proper Pesto.

Pesto vs. Pistou vs. Picada 

There are some pesto-like derivatives out there, not necessarily masquerading as pesto, but could cause some confusion to the untrained eye. Take pistou for instance. Liguria’s next door neighbor in Provence, France and they too have a pesto-like sauce called pistou. Pistou is almost identical to our Ligurian pesto, just without the nuts. Picada is a similar sauce/condiment made in Catalonia, Spain made using parsley and hazelnuts (plus some additional aromatics like baking spices and saffron) instead of basil and pine nuts. 

Image Credit: Bernadette Wurzinger from Pixabay 

Pesto’s Greatest Hits 

We love a good pesto sauce (I’m sure you can tell) and here are some of our all-time favorite recipes to add to your Liguria repertoire: 

Pesto Farfalle with Chicken

Pesto Spinach Flatbread with Ricotta

Beef Meatballs with Pesto

Ligurian Chicken Salad with Pesto

Feature Image: RitaE from Pixabay 

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