Genoa makes claim to the original pesto from pounding garlic, pine nuts, basil and olive oil. The ancient Romans used to make a similar version and the pesto made in southern France evolved into pistou. There’s also evidence that it actually originated in India but if it did I never came across it when I was trainspotting there for one month.
But getting back to pesto. One of my two basil plants is turning into a triffid so I thought it was about time I gave it a prune.
And with a large bunch of basil I added Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, garlic and blitzed it in my Magimix drizzling in some extra virgen olive oil. This will stand me in good stead later in the year when fresh basil isn’t available – it freezes well.
It is so versatile and comes in handy for a quick pasta dish, to liven up a cooked piece of meat or fish. Great in soups, stews and casseroles too. I love it spread on toasted rustic bread – basil pesto bruschetta.
The Italian Nonnas have devised a clever way of utilising the rind of the hard cheese used in the making of pesto – they add it to their Minestrone soup – it makes it a little creamy, try it.
Health note: Basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils have shown to provide health protecting benefits. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and nutrients essential for cardiovascular health.