Food Guts - Ingredient Information

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Nutritional Information

2 tbsps, pesto

  • Calories 1
  • Calories from Fat 0.27
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.03g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0.002g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.005g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.021g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 0mg0%
  • Potassium 24mg1%
  • Total Carbohydrate 0.23g0%
  • Dietary Fiber 0.2g1%
  • Sugars 0.02g
  • Protein 0.13g0%
  • Calcium 1mg0%
  • Iron 1mg6%
  • Vitamin A 6%
  • Vitamin C 2%

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Pesto on Wikipedia:

Pesto alla genovese is made from basil leaves... ...and pine nuts... ... which are ground up with the other ingredients. Basil pesto in the mortar Pesto Cavatappi ``Fettuccine di Pesto alla genovese``

Pesto (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpesto], Genoese: [ˈpestu]) is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). The name is the contracted past participle of pestâ (``to pound, to crush``, from the same Latin root as the English word pestle), in reference to the sauce's crushed herbs and garlic.



The ancient Romans ate a cheese spread called moretum which may sometimes have been made with basil. The herb likely originated in North Africa; however, it was first domesticated in India.[1] Basil took the firmest root in the regions of Liguria, Italy and Provence, France. The Ligurians around Genoa took the dish and adapted it, using a combination of basil, crushed garlic, parsley, grated hard cheese (parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino, etc.), and pine nuts with a little olive oil to form pesto. In French Provence the dish evolved into the modern pistou, a combination of basil, parsley, crushed garlic, and grated cheese (optional). However, pine nuts are not included.

In 1944, The New York Times mentioned an imported canned pesto paste. In 1946, Sunset magazine published a pesto recipe by Angelo Pellegrini. Pesto did not become popular in North America until the 1980s and 1990s.[2]

Ingredients and preparation

Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. The leaves are washed, dried, placed in the mortar with garlic and coarse salt, and crushed to a creamy consistency. The pine nuts are added and crushed together with the other ingredients. When the nuts are well-incorporated into the ``cream``, grated cheese or olive oil can be added and mixed with a wooden spoon. In a tight jar (or simply in an air-tight plastic container), pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week, and can also be frozen for later use.

Commercial pesto is commonly available in supermarkets in either green (original) or red (with sun-dried tomatoes or red bell peppers) varieties, produced by major manufacturers or under a generic or cheaper brand. Cashew nuts or walnuts are often used instead of pine nuts, because they are less expensive and have a similar texture. Cheaper oils may also be used.

Pesto is commonly used on pasta, traditionally with Mandilli de Sæa (Genovese dialect - literally ``silk handkerchiefs`` - for lasagna)[3], strozzapreti or trenette. It is sometimes used in minestrone. Pesto is sometimes served on sliced beef, tomatoes and sliced boiled potatoes.


A slightly different version of the sauce exists in Provence, where it is known as Pistou. In contrast with the genovese pesto, pistou is generally made with olive oil, basil and garlic only: while cheese may be added, usually no nuts are included. Pistou is used in the typical soupe au pistou, a hearty vegetable soup with pistou flavour. The sauce did not originally contain basil, however. Instead, cheese and olive oil were the main constituents.

Sometimes almonds are used instead of pine nuts, and sometimes mint leaves are mixed in with the basil leaves.

Pesto is a generic term for anything which is made by pounding and there are various other Pestos, some traditional, some modern.

Pesto alla siciliana, sometimes called simply pesto rosso (red pesto) is a sauce from Sicily similar to Genovese pesto but with the addition of tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts and much less basil. Pesto alla calabrese is a sauce from Calabria consisting of (grilled) bell peppers, black pepper and more; these ingredients give it a distinctively spicy taste. Pesto alla genovese is made with Genovese basil, salt, garlic, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil (Taggiasco), European pine nuts (often toasted) and a grated hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano (but which may be Grana Padano, Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Romano).[4]

Other modern Pestos, some of international and not Italian origin, with ingredient variations include: arugula (instead of or in addition to basil), black olives, lemon peel, coriander or mushrooms.[5] A German variety uses ramsons leaves instead of basil. In the 19th century, Genovese immigrants to Argentina brought pesto recipes with them. A Peruvian variety, known as ``Tallarin Verde`` (literally ``Green Noodles``, from Italian tagliarini) is slightly creamier, uses spinach leaves and is served with potatoes and sirloin steak.

Vegan variations of pesto can include mixes of fresh basil, walnut, olive oil and miso paste. [6]

Digestive properties

Basil is used for coughs, skin diseases, and intestinal problems. The seed still finds use as a bulk-forming laxative and diuretic.[7] However, the composition of basil is affected not only by the chemotypes present in its many different varieties, but even by influences such as the time of day of harvest, which may explain contradictory and inconsistent reports that a too-generous helping of pesto may cause diarrhea.

See also

Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Pesto Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pesto Moretum Chimichurri Corzetti

External links

Pesto production video


^ On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, First Scribner Revised Edition, Simon & Schuster, 2004. ^ Traverso, Amy (April 2008), ``Pesto's premiere``, Sunset: 116,,20633,1717438,00.html, retrieved 2008-07-22  ^ [1] ^ Consorzio del pesto Genovese recipe, retrieved 21 February 2008 ^ Recipes : Mushroom Pesto Crostini : Food Network ^ Millennium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine, by Eric Tucker, John Westerdahl and, Sascha Weiss. ^ Basil - Health & Wellness - Blue Shield of California