Pesto is a type of sauce made out of garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano. It came from the Genoese word “pestâ” which means to pound or crush and that is the way this recipe is prepared, by a marble mortar and wooden pestle. It is also where the English pestle word came from.

This sauce originated from the ancient Romans it was originally called moretum (the mortar word might have originated from it) it consists of cheese, garlic and herbs. Basil was introduced afterwards in the North African regions but became popular in India. The Ligurians around Genoa then took the dish and adapted it by using the same ingredients with the inclusion of pine nuts and olive oil.

Since pesto is a generic term for pounding there are different versions of this traditional dish and here are some:

  • Pesto alla Genovese – This is the most popular one, the one everybody knows. It is consists of Parmigiano Reggiano, basil, salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts.
  • Pistou – Made out of only 3 ingredients which are olive oil, basil, and garlic. Cheese can be sometimes added.
  • Pesto alla Siciliana – also called the red pesto, it is made out of Parmigiano Reggiano, tomato, basil, salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and almonds.
  • Pesto alla Calabrese – this is the spicy pesto and it consists of grilled capsicums, black pepper, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano

A very versatile sauce which you can use with pasta, baked potatoes, bread or even as a dip. How about you do you know any other use of pesto?

Prep time
Total time
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and gently pulse.
  2. Slowly add olive oil while food processor is on.
  3. Add cheese and pulse again until completely blended.
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Italy Pesto


No Responses

  1. nors says:

    Paborito ng nanay mi yan ha…

  2. I absolutely adore pesto and yours looks perfect. I had no idea that’s where the word for pestle comes from! Very cool.

  3. Whoever invented pesto is a genius. I recently enjoyed a roasted red pepper pesto.
    🙂 Mandy

  4. Pesto can make anything shine…
    This looks perfect!!

  5. peasepudding says:

    Love pesto, it’s just so versatile

  6. Tessa says:

    Beautiful pesto!

  7. I can’t wait to have fresh basil here myself to make this. Looks wonderful!

  8. kiwidutch says:

    I sometimes add a layer of Pistou (with or without added cheese) to the centre layer of lasagne .. I warn you , you gotta like garlic LOL … but it’s yummy!

  9. Food Stories says:

    Pesto is amazing and I loved reading your post. I love food stories and history so this was right up my alley 🙂

  10. Villy says:

    Delicious! You can even use it on chicken, sandwiches, gnocchi, etc. I love it!

  11. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    We use pesto for sandwich almost everyday or close to 3 days a week but truth to be told I’ve never made it from scratch. Yep shame on me! And I didn’t know there are other kinds of pesto! Okay I’ll make it soon!

  12. delicious colourful pesto looks wonderful

  13. Kristy says:

    I love a good pesto on pizza too! Delicious!

  14. foodjaunts says:

    You know I love my pesto 🙂 I’m a big fan of the Sicilian version especially since I love the tomatoes. Your pesto looks so rich in the bowl.

  15. PolaM says:

    Love pesto! It is possibly my favorite sauce, unfortunately here good pesto is quite difficult to find and basil is freaking expensive if you don’t grow it!

  16. I have a nice basil plant growing pretty well, but I’ve never tried making pesto from it. siguro natatakot lang ako. this might as well be the push I need. haha!

  17. I looove pesto, it’s so fresh and versatile! So easy to just stir through pasta or use as a dressing for salads like a quinoa salad. I have also added some to vegetable soups.

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