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Pesto / Pistou
A pounded sauce, originated from the Ligurian area of North West Ital; but also made around the Nice area of France - where it is called Pistou.
It is made by pounding garlic with pine kernels and basil leaves - to which Parmesan, or more correctly pecorino sardo, and olive oil is added. It is used to flavour soups, as a dressing for pasta and gnocchi, and without cheese as a sauce for chicken. It is probably a derivative of the Catalan Picada - arriving in Italy by way of Sardinia.
Food in Italy is still very localised - the making of pesto is a good example of this; for at Nervi, just seven miles south of Genoa (probably the "home" of pesto and "ravioli", cream is an added ingredient.
See 'Picada'; 'Ravioli' See our Recipe Section.