Home News Recipes Know Your Pesto: What Is It, Variations, And Some Interesting Recipes

Know Your Pesto: What Is It, Variations, And Some Interesting Recipes

Know Your Pesto: What Is It, Variations, And Some Interesting Recipes

New Delhi: Pesto is a sauce from Geneva, Italy. It is traditionally made using basil, parsley, marzoram, garlic, lemon juice, pinenuts, pecorino sardo, and olive oil, where the ingredients are “crushed” or ground in a marble mortar through a circular motion of a wooden pestle. Nowadays, the ingredients are blended into a fine texture and the resulting sauce is always stored after being topped with olive oil for preservation. Pesto is mainly used for pasta making, soups, salad dressing etc.

Variations Of Pesto:

1. Classic pesto sauce from liguria: This is prepared using mainly pine nuts, olive oil, basil, green Genoese, garlic, parmesan cheese and salt.

2. Pesto sauce- a classic in Germany: This includes Cedar nuts, Ramsons Cheese, and Olive oil.

3. Pesto sauce with avocado: A variation that is prepared by using Lime Avocado, Basil, Mint, Oil, Garlic, Cheese, Salt

4. Pesto sauce for roasting vegetables: This includes cheese, basil, purple parsley, garlic, cilantro, oil, nuts, salt, hot pepper, lemon

Health Benefits Of Pesto:

Listed below are some of the health benefits of Pesto:

1. Pesto is high in antioxidants:

Antioxidants, which are abundant in pesto, aid in lowering the chances of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments as well as skin ageing. Additionally, garlic, basil, olive oil, and pine nuts, which are important constituents of Pesto, support a healthy body’s ability to defend against such threats. Also, a study reveals that basil is a great source of vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus, and beta-carotene.

2. It contains the vitamins and minerals that your body requires:

Many minerals are important for bone health which can be enhanced by consuming garlic, cashews and pine nuts, all of which are essential components of pesto. Additionally, they also deliver healthy doses of lesser-known minerals, such as manganese, selenium and phosphorus. Manganese also supports connective tissues, blood clotting, and metabolism, while selenium acts as an antioxidant, and phosphorus supports bone and tooth health.

Lastly, small doses of vitamins A and K can also be found in basil, and vitamins B1 and B6 in garlic. However, pesto may not provide significant amounts of these energy-boosting vitamins.

3. Cardiovascular Benefits:

Due to the presence of olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids, pesto also has the benefit of maintaining heart health. Olive oil has several benefits, and one of them is a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, replacing other high-fat foods like margarine, butter, cheese, and mayonnaise with olive oil can lower the risk of heart disease and the risk of stroke.

Interesting Recipes With Pesto That You Can Try At Home:

1. Tagliatelle with Pesto by Genovese Arun Kumar, Executive Chef at Araiya Palampur


  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
  • 2 tbsp pecorino, grated
  • 1 lb fresh tagliatelle pasta


  1. Wash the basil in cold water and pat dry with a towel.
  2. Place all of the basil, garlic, salt and olive oil in a food processor and blend 10-15 seconds, to form a thick paste.
  3. Add the pine nuts, and process another 10 seconds or more, scraping down the bowl again once or twice, creating a uniformly smooth bright-green paste.
  4. Add the grated cheeses to the bowl, and pulse a few times just to blend in.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until ‘al dente’ – tender yet firm.
  6. Drain the pasta well and toss with the pesto.
  7. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

2. Pesto chicken salad by Laxman Shrestha, Head Chef at Dress Circle


  • Fresh basil – 1/2 cup
  • Garlic – 3 cloves
  • Dried tomatoes and pine nuts – 4tsp
  • Parmesan cheese – 3tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1/2 cup
  • Seasoning as per taste
  • Grilled or Roasted Boneless chicken – 200gm
  • Iceberg lettuce – 6cups
  • Lollo rosso – 3/4 cup
  • Corn – 2tsp
  • Bell pepper – 1/4 cup
  • Celery – 1 tsp
  • Cherry tomatoes – 3 tsp
  • Parmesan cheese – 1 tsp
  • Roasted cashew nuts – 2tsp


  1. Pulse fresh basil and pine nuts in a mixer several times.
  2. Add garlic and Parmesan cheese and pulse them several times more.
  3. Continuing the process, slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a smaller stream to get the desired consistency and add the seasoning as per taste for serving.
  4. In a large bowl combine grilled diced or sliced ​​chicken, corn, and cherry tomatoes along with all ingredients and pesto dressing except greens
  5. Pour the salad dressing on top, season with salt and pepper as per your liking, and toss it to coat.
  6. Add the greens to serve on plates along with final tosses and add sliced ​​cherry tomatoes with grated Parmesan cheese for garnish.

3. Homemade Fagottini Pasta in Almond Pesto, by Ravi Kant, Executive Chef, The Lalit New Delhi


  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Eggs – 2
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Egg yolk – 1
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Mix herbs (Sage, Thyme, Parsley, Chives)chopped – 2 cups
  • water as required


  • Take a bowl, add flour and then add eggs, egg yolk, salt, and olive oil.
  • Now finely chopped the mentioned herbs.
  • Add the herbs to the flour mix.
  • Make the dough by adding the required amount of water to the mix.
  • Make sure the dough is tight


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