Monday, February 1, 2010

Pesto - What is it?

Pesto, what is it?  Traditionally pesto is a mixture of crushed basil, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese made with a pestle and mortar.  It may contain garlic or limited other ingredients, but not a lot of variation.

According to Wikipedia, the definition for pesto is a little more broad based.  It says "Pesto is a generic term for anything which is made by pounding and there are various other Pestos, some traditional, some modern."  

While basil is the most typical ingredient used, other ingredients are also used to form the base as well.  Roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes as well as other herbs are often used to make pesto.

We have also seen the way pesto at home has changed as well.  We often see the food processor used as opposed to the more traditional mortar and pestle.  It does not get the same texture, but can quickly create the paste that is desired.

Pesto is most often used to flavor pasta, but don't stop there.  Try it as a flavoring for meats.   Use it as a spread on your favorite breads or crackers.  With the expanded definition, we now are finding expanded uses as well.

Let me know how you use your pesto. 

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