What is Pesto
Pesto is a sauce originating from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It is made with crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, all blended with olive oil. The name, pesto is derived from the past participle of the Genoese verb pestâ which means “to pound” or “crush.”
Traditionally, the ingredients are crushed and ground in a mortar with a wooden pestle. The vegan version is a mix of fresh basil, walnut or pine nut, olive oil with miso paste and nutritional yeast for extra flavour.
Often, pesto is stored in a tight jar with a generous layer of extra-virgin olive oil. It can last for a week if you store in the refrigerator. It is often served on pasta and is a well-known condiment in many restaurants in all parts of the world. Outside of Italy itself, it is often served with sliced beef, boiled potatoes, and tomatoes.
History Of Pesto
Pesto can be traced as far back as the Roman ages. During that time, there was a similar paste called moretum, similarly made by pounding garlic, salt, cheese, vinegar, herbs, and olive oil together. The paste recipe has been documented in the Appendiz Vergiliana, a collection of ancient poetry.
Basil grew to be the main component of pesto and was first mentioned in the mid-19th century. It is abundantly found in parts of Italy. However, when not in season, marjoram and parsley are used as alternatives.
It was in 1944 that the New York Times mentioned the first imported, canned pesto paste. It did not become as popular in North American until the 1980s and the 1990s.
Nutritional Information For Pesto
All the ingredients that make up pesto carry many health benefits. Olive oil and pine nuts are much higher in calories and fat but it is mainly unsaturated fats which are good for the body. It is loaded with antioxidants which reduces damage from free radicals. Consuming high amounts of pesto is unlikely to cause you to gain weight. In fact, it might even help you lose the pounds.
Basil is the main ingredient for pesto paste. It is known for being the world’s healthiest ingredient. It is a powerful antioxidant helping shield the body from free radicals that clog up your arteries for risk of heart stroke and heart attack. Other than that it can help rid of daily health issues like the common cold or an upset stomach.
Garlic is popular in the culinary world for its distinct taste and smell. Not only that, is helps to lower cholesterol levels and stabilise blood pressure as well. However, you should not entirely rely on pesto sauce alone to cure any ailments that you might have.
Parmesan cheese is made from milk however as the wheel of cheese matures, there is little to no lactose left. That being said, it is rich in calcium which promotes bone health. It also contains vitamin D that increases intestinal absorption of vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, copper, phosphorus and zinc.
Where To Find Pesto In Malaysia
Pesto can be easily found at any Italian restaurants in Malaysia. Here are lists of restaurants you can visit to have pesto in different forms of culinary dishes.
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