A pride courses through the soil of the northern Italian region of Liguria and specifically the city of Genoa.
Do you know why?
It’s the region that gave birth to that wonderfully homey sauce most of us know simply as pesto.
Traditional Pesto Made Is Made With a Mortar and Pestle
The word pesto comes from the Italian verb “pestare“, meaning to crush or pound.
That’s because traditional pesto was made by grinding garlic and pine nuts together with parmesan cheese and olive oil in a mortar and pestle.
Today Basil Is The Star of the Pesto Show
Basil wasn’t introduced into pesto until the mid-19th century.
But today, the most well known pesto is the Genovese version with basil as the the star of the show.
Genoa is so devoted to its basil pesto that they started the World Championship for Genoese Pesto Made with a Mortar® in the 90s.
Today more than one hundred plus competitors from around the world compete yearly for the top pesto spot using only a mortar and pestle and traditional, authentic ingredients.
It’s hard to believe, but basil pesto wasn’t embraced by Americans until the 1980s and 90s.
Although today we typically think of pesto made with basil, any number of ingredients can be ground together to form a sauce including arugula, parsely, kale, and cilantro.
The list is endless.
Be Your Own Basil Pesto-Making World Champion
While we’re not living in the Italian basil capital of Genoa, fresh basil abounds in the U.S., too.
You can easily grow it in pots outside or in a sun-facing window.
If not, you can find this fragrant herb that’s a member of the mint family with hints of pepper and anise, at a farmer’s market and grocery stores.
Make Your Pesto With a Blender or Food Processor
My basil pesto is super easy and incredibly delicious.
Use a blender or a food processor tomake it even easier.
Serve it over pasta, roasted vegetables or meats.
The flavor is fresh, will put a smile on your face, and may be slightly addicting.
You’ve been warned!