Pesto derived from the Italian word pestare, to crush or clobber, is a traditional sauce originated in Genoa, Northern Italy. Purists will vigorously muddle basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and olive oil in a mortar and pestle, finished with cheese from Parma and Sardinia and is classically served over Trofie pasta. The Ancient Romans ate a similar paste called moretum, which was made by crushing garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, olive oil and vinegar together.
Pesto is a perfect addition your Italian recipe arsenal, not only for its simplicity but also its versatility! You can experiment with different herbs, greens (I make a peppery arugula pesto too) and nuts, swiping pine nuts for walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Roast the nuts to develop flavor before adding them to the blender or pestle! This simple spread will help you cook with an Italian accent and can be added to almost any dish. Toss in salads, use on vegetables, marinade meat with it, the possibilities are endless! Whip up Fiorella's traditional pesto now--all you need is a blender!
Start by placing olive oil and basil in a blender and blend briefly until combined
Add the lemon juice, sea salt, cheese, and sunflower seeds and blend until smooth
Add more olive oil and lemon to thin the consistency if desired
Serve and enjoy!
Basil is packed with vitamin K, important for bone health and blood clotting, and has anti-inflammatory properties
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, important for heart health, and contains antioxidant benefits
Sunflower seeds are great source of fiber, great for digestive and heart health, and filled with the antioxidants, vitamin E and selenium
Lemon juice contains vitamin C, important for building collagen and giving you glowing skin