Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, which is located in the northern region of Italy. It originated around the 16th century and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil. O&CO. Chef Meulien also adds cashew nuts to this traditional Pesto Alla Genovese. The name Pesto originates from the Genoese word pestâ, which means to pound or to crush. This refers to the way in which the authentic sauce is prepared, with a mortar and pestle. However, the translation may be a bit misleading because the preparation does not consist of pounding, rather it is of grounding. The reason the preparation is important is in order to release the full aroma of the basil leaf it must not be crushed.
There are many variations of Pesto and most people associate it with the color green obviously coming from the main ingredient of basil. Since the word Pesto can be used to describe so many different types of sauces and dips the most traditional sauce’s name contain “pesto genovese”. There are other variations that are red in color reflecting from ingredients such as sun dried tomatoes or red bell peppers. While one of the most popular uses for Pesto is as a pasta sauce, it can also be used as a spread or dip, salad dressing, or as an accompaniment to steak, poultry or fish.
One of O&CO’s original recipes using pesto is Pasta with Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Prosciutto. This recipe is extremely easy to cook and tastes great! In order to make this recipe authentic, cook the pasta al dente, which means to leave the pasta firm but not hard. Another interesting alternative is to use it on a tomato bruschetta. Instead of a classic use of balsamic vinegar substitute pesto sauce for an original twist on a classic favorite.