Pesto was first prepared а long, long time ago. The exact period of his invention is arguable  – it is said to be somewhere between the 16th and the 19th century. Pesto-like sauces have been consumed even at the time of the ancient Romans. The first mentioning of the word “pesto” in history dates from 1870. It is in a book about the Genovese culinary art. In fact, “pesto” comes from the Genovese word “pestâ”, which means “crush, crumble”, as well as from an ancient recipe for sauce made of basil, garlic and pine seeds, mixed with pecorino cheese and olive oil.

Different kinds of pesto

Many people believe that the pesto is only green – indeed, such is the classic “Pesto alla Genovese”. (In Italy, even a proposal is being made currently for the Pesto Genovese to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List of Intangible Culture). There is also a red pesto (with dried tomatoes). Pesto Siciliana, also called “pesto rosso”, is red – it is made with tomatoes, almonds instead of pine nuts and less basil. Pesto alla Calabrese on the other hand contains black pepper, and grilled bell peppers. Today, many people make different types of home-made pesto choosing a variety of nuts.

How to use pesto diversely?

Besides the most traditional – eating pesto with pasta, there are many other delicious ways to consume it. For example, you can mix it with guacamole, yoghurt or sour cream and serve it as a great appetizer before dinner. A yummy option is to use it as an add-on to the morning snack – on top of an egg or a slice of bread. It is also perfect for home-made pizza – just keep in mind that if you use it instead of tomato sauce, it should be less, because the pesto tastes heavier and more intense. The green pesto goes well with grilled salmon. Last but not least, pesto is a wonderful, fresh choice for toast, potatoes and cold pasta salad!


It is good to keep in mind that the pesto gets brownish when oxidized, the same is the case with guacamole, for example, after contact with air. However, this does not mean the pesto is spoiled. It is a good idea to pour a thin layer of olive oil in the already opened jar – just to keep the freshness and not get the pesto substance brown. This keeps it fresh for at least a few weeks. And, of course, before you use the already started pesto, just mix it well!