Red pesto: delicious flavors, Mediterranean colors
Intense, fragrant, creamy... red pesto is one of Italy’s most distinctive sauces.
Task: capture the essence of Italy in a sauce.
Method: take classic Genoese pesto, with its intense fragrance of fresh basil. Add one of Italy’s most famous products: tomatoes. They can be in pulp form, or dried and bashed into a paste. Mix the ingredients.
Result: a brightly colored sauce that’s fragrant and tasty and that can transport us to Italy in an instant. Let’s learn more about red pesto!
When we talk about pesto, the first thing that springs to mind is Genoese pesto: a creamy and green sauce created by combining quality, raw ingredients.
But if you go elsewhere in Italy, you’ll find countless other types of pesto: pesto trapanese, pesto calabrese, red pesto... and there have even been some non-traditional versions in recent times made with things like rocket, eggplant and zucchini.
All of these recipes are linked by the verb “pestare”, which means “to pound”. It’s a repetitive process which requires time and attention and which should be done manually using a pestle and mortar (made of wood or stone, depending on your local traditions). This technique allows you to grind all of the ingredients and bring them together in order to create a paste which can be more easily preserved.
A quintessentially Italian tradition
Pesto sauces are one of the oldest parts of Italy’s culinary traditions. They are so deeply rooted, so commonly found across the entire country, that Italy has even created the National Pesto Sauces Day to celebrate them. It’s held on 12 September every year.
The oldest written reference to a form of pesto sauce is attributed to Virgil, who mentioned moretum, a sauce prepared by Roman peasants in a mortar (the moretarium) using simple ingredients like garlic, cheese, herbs, salt, oil and vinegar.
Garlic and vinegar were key ingredients in pesto sauces for a long time, on account of the usefulness in keeping foods from going off.
The introduction of different preservation techniques and the gradual refinement of tastes saw pesto recipes change and evolve over time: the amount of garlic was reduced to free up space for other, more delicate ingredients, such as dried fruits, until we eventually happened upon the typical recipes that are so widely loved and consumed to this day.
Red pesto? Here’s how we make it
Once you've tasted it, you’ll want to try it straight away. So how do you prepare it? Don’t worry! Fratelli Carli Red Pesto is ready to use and requires no additional ingredients.
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