What Is Pesto?

Pesto is a wonderful addition to so many dishes, from pasta to pizza. This deliciously vibrant sauce tastes so good, and it is even healthy and good for your health when consumed in small amounts.

What is Pesto

Have you ever wondered what pesto is actually made out of? Sure, you can taste hints of garlic, and maybe something green and leafy, but what really is pesto?

In this guide, we will answer your question. Let’s take a look at what pesto is, and how you can make it at home.

What Ingredients Are Used To Make Pesto?

Pesto is a thick, bright-green sauce that is a remarkable addition to so many dishes. It has an incredible savory flavor, made up of basil, cheese, and pine nuts.

In addition to these ingredients, pesto is also made using olive oil, garlic, and just a pinch of salt. These six ingredients are blended together to create the wonderfully unique flavor of pesto.

There are other variations of pesto available, most notably red pesto. This is made from all the same ingredients as your typical basil pesto, except sun dried tomatoes are used in the place of basil. This is what gives red pesto its vibrant red hue.

Pesto is actually a really easy sauce to create at home. Later on in this guide, we will teach you how to make your very own homemade pesto, so be sure to stick around.

What Is Pesto Used For?

Pesto is a fairly versatile sauce, yet it is best known for its use as a pasta sauce. It tastes incredible when paired with some spaghetti, and topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. 

You can eat pesto pasta as it is, or you can add some extra ingredients, such as chicken or tomatoes.

While it is best known for being a pasta sauce, pesto is not limited to this dish. It can be used as a pizza topping, a salad dressing, a sandwich spread, or even as a marinade for meat.

Pesto works well with pretty much any savory dish, if we’re being honest.

If you love the taste of pesto, we recommend getting creative and testing what it tastes great with. Try coating a chicken breast, adding it to mashed potatoes, or drizzling it over some vegetables before roasting them.

Is Pesto Good For You?

What is Pesto

An initial view of the ingredients that make pesto may convince you that this sauce isn’t too unhealthy. After all, anything that’s naturally green in color can’t be bad for you, right?

The good news is that, in moderate amounts, yes, pesto is good for you. It provides a great amount of healthy fats, which can help lower your cholesterol, support your cardiovascular health, and help your body absorb vitamins and minerals.

However, that is just about where the benefits of pesto sauce end. Unfortunately, this product is extremely high in salt, fat, and calories, so it shouldn’t be eaten in large amount on a daily basis.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with eating pesto in moderation. Enjoy this green delicacy as a treat every so often, but don’t go overboard.

How To Make Homemade Pesto

As we mentioned earlier, making pesto at home is actually pretty simple, and doesn’t take too much time to accomplish. All you’ll need is a food processor, a fine cheese grater, a spatula, and the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of finely grated hard cheese
  • ½ cup of toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Step 1: Prepare The Garlic

The first thing that you will need to do is slice the garlic. This is the best way to prepare the garlic, although you can chop it up, or even mince it if you would prefer to. 

By slicing it, however, it will be easier to blend in the processor, rather than leaving it in larger chunks.

Step 2: Prepare The Basil

You will need to rinse the basil to make sure it is clean and ready to use, and then allow it to dry before beginning. 

Once the basil is completely dry, you can add it to the processor. Make sure the machine is secure and covered, and then blend the basil in short intervals of a couple of seconds until it has been completely chopped up.

Step 3: Add Garlic, Cheese, And Salt To The Processor

Once the basil has been chopped, you can begin adding more ingredients to the processor. It is important that you don’t add all ingredients at once, so proceed by only adding three more ingredients: garlic, cheese, and salt.

Switch on the processor once more to blend the ingredients together, and then move onto the next step.

Step 4: Add The Pine Nuts To The Processor

The next step is to add the pine nuts into the mix. Pulse the processor until the pine nuts have crumbled up into smaller pieces, blending in with the rest of the ingredients.

Step 5: Add The Olive Oil To The Processor

The final ingredient to add to the mix is the ingredient that will hold it all together: the olive oil. Be sure to have the oil ready in a jug for this step.

Run the processor on a low speed, allowing the ingredients to slowly blend. While this happens, very slowly pour the olive oil into the processor. You want the ingredients to emulsify, so continue to slowly add the oil until it is all incorporated.

Step 6: Finishing Touches  

At this point, your pesto should be finished and ready to serve. However, you’ll want to give it a taste test first.

If you want to add anything further to improve the flavor, e.g., more salt, you may do so at this stage. Do what you need to do to complete the pesto, and then it will be ready to use.

Final Thoughts

Pesto is made of six simple ingredients: basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, olive oil, and salt. Once blended together, they create the ultimate, thick, green-colored sauce that tastes great with so many savory delicacies.

While it can be good for your health in small doses, you should avoid eating pesto too much, as it contains a lot of salt, fat, and calories.

We hope you found this guide helpful.

Mark Williams
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