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PESTO AND BASIL
Pesto is a cold sauce made with basil, cheese (parmesan and pecorino in varying quantities), olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and sea salt. Traditionally, it is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle, pounding ingredients gradually until they turn into a thick paste. In Liguria, pesto is used to give a unique flavor to pasta, and in particular to ‘trofie’, potato ‘gnocchi’, ‘trenette’, and lasagnas.
Pesto was not always exactly as we know it today. Its mixture of selected ingredients is, in fact, the result of a long evolution that transformed a simple mince of garlic and basil, garnished with a little grated cheese, into the sauce we know now, enhanced by the flavor of Ligurian oil and the texture of nuts, such as walnuts or pine nuts. Every adjustment was aimed at achieving the best possible pasta sauce, striking the balance between sharp and mild taste.
The basil is minced in order to produce a kind of purée (adding oil and salt) which is used in canning industries to produce pesto sauce, other sauces, marinades, spreads, etc. Upon clients’ request, other specific ingredients can be added to the basic mixture made of minced basil leaves (2-5 mm or 5-7 mm). Basil is also available in both a cold-processed version and a hot processed-version, according to the client’s needs and uses.
- Hot-processed versions guarantee a low bacteria load, a low salt content and a high percentage of basil.
- Cold-processed versions preserve the freshest aromatic notes of basil better, maintaining them for a longer time.
Pesto Genovese Market
Pesto Genovese, prepared to specification, represents only a tiny part of the market (around 4%) because the rest is done by the many variations of “Pesto alla Genovese” proposed by various brands, made for the need to understand the taste of a large section of consumers and produce large volumes with similar characteristics.
Modern industry has enormously contributed to the widespread use of local products. This is the case of Pesto Genovese, with the promotion of the recipe regulated by Italian Consortium, but also creating numerous variations and diversifications.
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