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The Art Of Making A Pesto Sauce

Updated on January 16, 2013

Pesto Something Different On Your Pasta

This lens is about the art of making a pesto sauce. This sauce has been around for many years but has recently become very popular. A recipe will be given, a history of the sauce and a description of the ingredients.

The History Of Pesto Sauce

Pesto sauce had its origins in the Northern section of Italy, in Genoa. However, during the Roman period, it was believed to be imported from Africa. The word pesto is taken from an Italian word to pound or pounding. Although, as you will see in the following sections of this lens, the art of making pesto sauce is not by pounding it, rather by grounding it. This sauce can be used on meats, macaroni and even a piece of toast.

The French have a version of this also called Pistou sauce.

How To Make Pesto

Let's start with the ingredients.

3 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

4 medium sized peeled garlic cloves

1cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts

pepper and salt

Place the basil leaves, cheese, garlic pine or walnuts in a food processor. While mixing, slowly pour in the olive oil and then stir in your salt and pepper.

If you don't have a food processor you can use a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. First place your garlic and pine or walnuts in the mortar. Pound them until they become a creamy substance. Then add your basil leaves and ground them to a creamy substance and add salt and pepper and your Parmesan cheese and your olive oil. Continue pounding in a circular motion with the pestle until a creamy sauce develops

Another Example Of How To Make Pesto Sauce


Basil is herb with its origins in India. Although now it is annual herb; cultivated extensively in France, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, and the United States, Greece and Israel. It is a plant from the mint family. it is a herb used in most Italian recipes but is also known to be used in Taiwanese and southeastern Asian Countries. Basil in Italian is called basilico however; there are many varieties of basil as listed below:

African blue basil (Ocimum basilicum X O. kilimandscharicum)

Camphor basil, African basil (O. kilimandscharicum)

Cinnamon basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Cinnamon')

Dark opal basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Dark Opal')

Globe basil, dwarf basil, French basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Minimum')

Hoary basil (Ocimum americanum formerly known as O. canum)

Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum, formerly known a O. sanctum)

Spice Basil (a cultivar of Ocimum americanum, which is sometimes sold as Holy Basil)

Lemon basil (Ocimum americanum)

Lettuce leaf basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Crispum')

Purple basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurescens')

Queen of Siam basil (Ocimum basilicum citriodorum)

Rubin basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Rubin')

Many Italian Americans, including those living in the big cities, grow basil from the spring into the summer. I know speaking for me, when I was living in a tenement on Mulberry Street; I grew basil on my fire escape. Now, I grow it on my terrace. The leaves are then stored away for future uses in recipes. From my point of view, you can't make good Sunday "gravy" without using basil in the ingredients.


Garlic has been used for thousands of years for both a food enhancer and for medicinal purposes. it is a descendant of the Allium plant which grows in Asia. Garlic is used by many different cultures in recipes of those counties. It is commonly found in Italian, Asian, Middle East, Africa and South and Central America.

Garlic has been used for medicinal purposes. It has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Garlic is believed to prevent heart disease, the common cold, strengthen the immune system, helping the body fight diseases such as cancer and garlic gel, applied to the skin, may treat ringworm, jock itch, and athlete' s foot.

Garlic is grown throughout the world but China and India are its largest producers. However, no Country comes close to the amount of garlic produced then China. last year, China produced 3 billion pounds or 77% of the garlic worldwide. The United States ranked fourth in the worlds production of garlic and it is grown in every state except Alaska.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Parmigiano-Reggiano was first created way back in the middle ages. it is named after the regions that produce it, Parma and Reggio Emilia. The law in Italy only allows cheeses produced in the following regions: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna (all in Emilia-Romagna), and Mantova (in Lombardia), Italy may be called Parmigiano-Reggiano. This name is trademarked in Italy and each wheel of cheese must meet strict guidelines, set by the Italian Government to have the official seal placed on it. In America, you can get copy cat cheeses produced here and labeled Parmesan.

Parmigiano Cheese is used in many Italian foods. At the Sunday table of all Italian Americans you will find a bowl of grated parmigiano to be used on the macaroni.

How parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Is Made

The Best Place In the New York Tri State Area Is DiPalo's In Little Italy

Do you need to buy cheeses?

I Would Love To Hear From You - Happy Eating

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like sauce very much mostly Pesto Sauce & Tomato sauce

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Might attempt this over the weekend; I was making some GRAVY and have a ton of fresh basil leftover. Have a great weekend John.

    • kevkev227 lm profile image

      kevkev227 lm 5 years ago

      Nice Lens! I love pesto and it is always better made and served fresh at home!

    • Cassidy Wadsworth profile image

      Cassidy Wadsworth 5 years ago

      This is awesome! I love learning the origins of these ingredients. Thanks!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 5 years ago

      Nice lens here! I grow basil every year so that i can stock up on pesto over the winter and I love it! Your recipe here is great, I will have to add garlic to mine this year, that's a great idea!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I get tired of plain, boring red sauce from a jar...I'm definitely going to try this pesto...looks delicious! :)

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I get tired of plain, boring red sauce from a jar...I'm definitely going to try this pesto...looks delicious! :)

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 5 years ago

      Great information! This is very useful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      pesto is njami.. :)

    • grassosalvato86 profile image

      grassosalvato86 5 years ago

      Mamma mia! I love pesto pasta!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      @TTMall: Thank you for visiting my lens and your comment.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very interesting and informative lens. I've never attempted to make Pesto, but I've always wanted to. Years ago, as an Alzheimer's nurse, I had as a patient a sweet little Italian lady. She no longer recognized her own family, but she could tell you how to make her famous Pesto without missing a beat!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      @katemiya: Thank you for visiting my lens and blessing it and for your comment.

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 5 years ago

      great lens!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      @julieannbrady: good luck with your pesto sauce. I am sure you will do great. Thanks for visiting my lens and your comments.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      So happy to learn, after all these years, the proper way to make a great pesto sauce. TYVM

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Mmmmm, I didn't grow basil this summer but I'm wishing I did, I love pesto!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      @TravelingRae: That sounds great. Thank you for visiting my lens and I am glad that you enjoyed it. Thank you also for your comment.

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 5 years ago

      One of my favourite uses for pesto is to mix it with sour cream, marinate chicken breasts in the mixture overnight, then bake it.

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      @LouisaDembul: Thank you for visiting my lens and your comments

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      I love pesto, we make it all the time!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      A very yummly Lens, I added it to the Italian Food Featured Modules on the Zeppoli Lens (along with your other All Things Italian Offerings). Too bad my mother never had a chance to meet you, or Elena (a fellow Sigee, lol); she would have gotten a kick out of you two.