Pesto Sauce - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Pesto Sauce History
Pesto is a word whose meaning traces back to the Italian verb Pesta, meaning to pound or crush. In fact, a pestle (think mortar and pestle) shares the same latin root. Thus, it should be no surprise that Pesto can refer to any product that was pounded or crushed into a sauce or paste. However, modern Pesto is actually made by grinding the ingredients rather than pounding them. The grinding of the ingredients releases their full aroma and flavor. The most typical Pesto is Genovese Basil Pesto, named after Genoa, Italy, its place of origin. This famous Pesto came on the scene in the 16th century. Another common Pesto Sauce is Red Pesto, named from basil and sundried tomatoes. While Pesto is most commonly used as a topping for pasta, it is also excellent as a spread or dip. Make your typical meal into an Italian experience by adding Pesto as an accompaniment to steak, poultry or fish.

Pesto Sauce Types
Genovese Basil Pesto, also known as Pesto all Genovese, is the most traditional variety. This Green Pesto typically consists of basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. Always check the ingredients on the package, as inferior versions can be made with spinach instead of pure basil. The best Basil Pesto is made from a particular variety of basil that is only grown in Genoa. Genovese Basil D.O.P. is intensely fragrant and a Green Pesto made from this type of basil pairs perfecetly with shaped pasta, gnocchi, tortellini and ravioli. Add a teaspoon of Basil Pesto to soup for added flavor.

Sundried Tomato Pesto: This Red Pesto incorporates sundried tomato with the traditional Genovese ingredients. Sundried Tomato Pesto has a powerful, concentrated tomato flavor. It is a wonderful alternative to Green Pesto whenever you are looking to switch things up a bit.

Red Pepper Pesto: Now we are starting to blur the lines between Pesto and Tapenade. A Red Pepper Tapenade might be more chunky than a Red Pepper Pesto. This Red Pesto would be more appropriate as a dip or spread instead of as a sauce for pasta. However, Red Pepper Pesto can be a nice accompaniment stirred into a plate of filled pasta like tortellini or ravioli.

White Pesto: A relative newcomer on the scene, White Pesto is made from crushed walnuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and perhaps other crushed nuts like cashews or pine nuts. It is a great sauce for long, flat pasta like Fettucini or gnocchi.

Olive Pesto: Here is another example of a Pesto that blurs the line between pesto and tapenade. Olive Pesto is made from crushed olive, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and perhaps other ingredients like basil or tomato. It is a great topping for bruschetta.

The Pesto Sauce varieties available for sale on are all unique, handcrafted, and delicious, incorporating ingredients like Genovese Basil, garlic, artichoke, truffle, sundried tomato, walnuts and more. When searching for gourmet food online, look no further than