Pesto is the most famous and loved green sauce in the world. This simple and genuine raw sauce is typical of Liguria region in the nort-west of Italy.
Wine & Food Magazine
Pesto has its roots in ancient Rome, when our ancestors used to prepare a paste made with cheese, pine nuts, oil, salt and aromatic herbs, called "moretum".
During the Middle Age, in plebeian cooking spread the agliata sauce, basically a walnut and garlic paste. At that time, garlic was a main ingredient in Genova and Liguria especially between sailors who thought it could prevent illness during the long period of sailing. The use of aromathic herb in ligurian cuisine dates back this period: common people add flavour to any dish with herbs, much cheaper than spices, a prerogative of upper classes.
To get to the version that we know today we have to wait unitl 1865, when the refined gourmet published in his book "La Cucina Genovese" (the genovese cuisine) the recipe of Pesto alla Genovese. Since then, the traditional formula has not undergone noticeable changes. To prepare an authentic Pesto alla Genovese the marble mortar and pestle are required. The words pestle and pesto derive form the italian verb pestare which means to crush something with a apestle to reduce it to powder.
The traditional ingredients are basil, better the Genovese DOP variety, extra virgin olive oil Riviera Ligure DOP, garlic Vassalico of Imperia province, pine nuts, parmesan and coarse salt.