Pesto is a favourite ingredient in my kitchen. I always have some on hand to add flavour to some of the blander dishes I take to work for lunch in my attempts to eat more healthily. It does absolute wonders for my go-to chicken, broccoli and brown rice. And with all the new options available, from red pepper pesto to sun-dried tomato and feta pesto, it is not only flavourful, but boasts a host of nutrients too. So since I love it so much, I thought I’d share a few quick-fire facts I know you’ll love, plus a few of our yummiest pesto recipes.
By Roxy Greeff
1. This omnomnom sauce originates from Genoa in Liguria, Italy and is traditionally made with crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil, Parmesan, sheep’s-milk cheese and olive oil.
2. The name ‘pesto’ originates from the past tense Genoese contraction pestâ (pestare in Italian) which translates to ‘to pound’ or ‘to crush’.
3. One of its predecessors is a paste called moretum, a mixture created the the ancient Romans made up of garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, olive oil and vinegar.
4. Closer to home, a popular sauce in Genoa during the Middle Ages was agliata, a mash of garlic and walnuts. The first documented inclusion of basil was recorded in gastronomist Giovanni Battista Ratto’s book La Cuciniera Genovese, published in 1863.
5. Basil is believed to have come to Genoa from India, and although the herb thrived there, it only grew in season. Marjoram and parsley were used as alternative during other parts of the year (and it actually sounds pretty delicious to me!).
1. Cashew pesto pasta