The Simple and Delicious Pesto

When you think of pesto, you immediately think of Italian cuisine. This marvel of deliciousness is one of Italy's most priced sauces which originates from the coastline of Liguria. The word pesto comes from the verb 'pestare' which means to crush, to trample, to pound. The genius of this traditional sauce lies in it's simplicity, affordability and humble history.

Health benefits

Pesto is rich of nutrients and punch of flavor that can improve your health and nutrient intake. Although olive oil is not low in calories, it is full with heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats. The basil, that is one of the key ingredients, adds phytochemicals orientin and vicenin to a diet, which act as antioxidants. Lastly, the garlic helps in lowering cholesterol levels in 3 months of consumption.

How to make it

The key tools for this sauce are mortar and pestle. This way, blending the ingredients into a pesto gives it a more rustic look that is less homogenized. Another option is using a food blender that can alter the raw taste from the heat that it's produced.

Pesto is usually made of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with olive oil, parmigiano reggiano and pecorino cheese. However, there are a number of variations you can make. Instead of basil, you can use another handy herb or leafy green. Replace the pine nuts with different nuts by choice or swap parmesan for your preferable cheese. The options are endless, you choose.

The most known combination of this sauce is with pasta. However, just as there are tons of ingredient combinations, the possibilities to feature this sauce in different meals are endless. Our favorites are the following:

- Make a green pizza by replacing the red sauce with basil pesto

- Add a spoonful when you knead bread, foccatia or pizza dough

- It makes a great flavor addition to creamy dips and sandwich spreads

- Great substitute for salad dressing

- Combine it with veggies or roasted potatoes

- Top bruschetta and crostini

- Marinate meats and seafood to get new, rich flavor

- For all the extreme pesto lovers, you can never go wrong if you eat it with a spoon. Yummy!

The best thing about pesto is that once you make it, it is not necessary to eat it immediately. You can refrigerate or freeze it so that you always have it 'in stock'.

In addition, we give you 4 of our best pesto recipes:

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Gnocchi

Eggplant Pesto

Pasta Rapida with Parsley Pesto