Italian cuisine has introduced the world to hearty healthy dishes made from fresh ingredients. There is nothing superfluous in it, and the main nutritional products are prepared in sophisticated combinations, making the dishes not only healthy, but incredibly tasty. The Italians skillfully combined bread, meat or fish and vegetables, filling pasta, tortillas and casseroles with fragrant spicy sauces.
One of the classic Italian dressings is pesto sauce, which is made on the basis of young green basil. Hearty fatty and spicy ingredients are added to the seasoning, thanks to which the sauce perfectly lubricates and complements vegetable salads, bread, pastries, and stews. And after going beyond the borders of Italy, the sauce was enriched with new ingredients and interestingly transformed in the interpretation of other cultures.
What makes pesto sauce
- The main component is basil, it is taken a lot and ground into a juicy paste. An additional ingredient, classic for Italian cuisine, is Parmesan - a fat and dense sort of cream cheese, which makes the sauce at the same time more high-calorie and tender.
- Olive oil is also added for energy value. Due to this, the sauce has a semi-liquid consistency and lubricates vegetables, cereal dishes and meat so well.
- Another basic component is pine nut. It makes the flavor of the sauce rich, spicy and delicious. At the same time charges the dish with a stock of essential components. Also be sure to add garlic to the base.
Other ingredients can be changed depending on the preferences and purpose of filling. Combine various products to get truly elegant flavoring compositions on the table. The basis of the sauce - greens, spices and healthy fat.
Pine nuts are replaced with walnuts or peanuts, you can also take cashews. Instead of cream cheese, sometimes they use soy tofu and also replace this ingredient with avocado paste. Coriander, parsley, bay leaf, freshly ground black pepper and oregano are added to the basil. In some cases, tomato sauce, sweet peppers and olives are added to the sauce.
What is served with pesto sauce
Classic green or red pesto with dried tomatoes usually perfectly complements pasta, pizza, cream soups, focaccio bread and baked meat. In addition, they well emphasize the taste of cream cheeses and complement the stewed vegetables - tomatoes, eggplants, peppers.
The yellow version with walnuts and ricotta nourishes vegetable soups and stews with a noble shade, and also goes well with rich and lean bread.
There is a purple version of the sauce based on dark basil with arugula and melted butter. This dressing is perfect for fish dishes with vegetables.
History of sauce
For the first time, the sauce appeared in the culinary books of Italy in the early 19th century and represented classic Italian cuisine. However, many sources say that the history of the sauce goes back to the Roman Empire. Spicy sauce adorned even the most meager table, making the usual unleavened tortillas or grilled meat on the fire delicious and tasty.
In the original recipe of the sauce, not only creamy parmesan is used, but also pecorino sheep cheese, and instead of the familiar pine nuts, pine seeds are added - seeds of southern pine. Garlic is used to use dried or old, the taste of which is less pungent and more spicy. However, the sharp young garlic does not spoil the flavor of the sauce.
The name of the sauce comes from the word "pounded, mashed". Traditionally, the sauce was prepared in ceramic mortars, carefully squeezing the components. Today, the cooking process has been simplified, and a pleasant homogeneous mass can be quickly obtained by grinding the components with a blender. However, if you want to feel the canonical taste of Italian snacks, try to grind the ingredients by hand.
How to cook delicious pesto
The classic recipe says that you need to take:
- 100 g fresh basil;
- 150 ml of olive oil;
- 2 cloves of garlic;
- 40 grams of cheese;
- 25 g of nuts;
- Salt (sea), pepper.
Basil is carefully washed and cut off hard petioles, then crushed with a knife, also made with garlic. Nuts should be roasted in a frying pan without adding oil until a characteristic aroma and golden hue appears. Cheese is rubbed on a fine grater. Basil with garlic salt and begin to grind, gradually introducing the oil, you can do it in the hand or blender. After that, nuts and cheese, pepper are introduced. The paste is kneaded until smooth.
Other useful recipes
Store pesto in the refrigerator for about a week. In addition, the sauce can be frozen, then it will retain its healthy and taste properties for up to 3 months. For convenience, pour the sauce into the molds to use further portions, without defrosting the whole mass. Harvested sauce cubes shift in a package or container. You can defreeze the sauce in a water bath, not bringing it to a hot state.
To improve the taste and prolong the freshness, juice and lemon peel are added to the paste, which you rub on a fine grater. Fans of culinary experiments can also try adding orange, grapefruit or bergamot zest, and in combination with avocado even lime.
In the tomato recipe it is appropriate to use the buds of cloves - 2-3 knots for 1 billet. Tomatoes take on 2/3 of the volume of basil. You can also take tomato paste in half with fresh fruits. Sweet pepper is introduced in a ratio of 1: 5 relative to the main component.
Note! In a yellow walnut sauce, you can use honey to taste it.
Useful properties of pesto sauce
Such seasoning not only improves dishes with exquisite taste - it is also very useful. Basil sauce cleans the intestines, helps to remove toxins, normalize healthy metabolism, reduce blood cholesterol and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, saturate brain cells with beneficial fatty acids, and restore strength after exercise.
Add pesto sauce to tasty and healthy dishes to keep your body toned.