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It’s been a while since we’ve seen an article about eating pesto.
That’s mostly because, well, pesto has long been a staple of pasta and pizza and pasta sauce.
But now, it’s making a comeback, thanks to a few changes in the way we eat it.
“It’s now a great option for vegans, vegetarians, and people who want a whole-food, plant-based alternative,” says Jessica Gaudet, founder of The Paleo Diet, a site that sells the recipe.
The idea behind pesto comes from Italian chef Francesco Pasolini, who cooked it up as a way to satisfy the needs of his vegetarian customers and a way for the city of Florence to avoid having to make its own pasta.
Pasolini created pesto with basil, parsley, garlic, and olive oil to make a pesto that is “a real meat substitute,” he wrote in a letter to The New York Times in the 1930s.
But as the pasta industry has boomed, so has the popularity of pesto as a salad dressing, pestos, and pesto sauces, all of which are a quick and easy way to add extra nutritional value to a dish.
“People have been eating it for a long time, and they’ve always been a little obsessed with pesto,” says Gaudets, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the Food Network’s “Porcelain City.”
Gaudett and her husband have been cooking pesto since they were teenagers.
They’ve tried various flavors, including the classic pesto pasta sauce and a pesta-bacon pesto pesto, which can be served in a bowl with mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, and a salad.
But the family has always liked pesto for its versatility.
It can be made from whole-grain pasta, whole-wheat pasta, or pasta with no-boil cooking.
“We’ve always said, ‘Porchetta is the ultimate pasta sauce,’ ” Gaudetts says.
“Porcotta is one of my favorite sauces, and we really liked it as a kid.
But we didn’t want to take it to the next level.
And now that we’re at a point where it’s really popular, it just seems like it should be a staple.”
The New England branch of The Organic Crock-Pot is one popular source of pestos.
But you can also buy pesto from other sources like the Food Emporium in Vermont, or the online store Eat Better.
Gaudettes says she thinks the pesto resurgence is thanks to more mainstream restaurants embracing pesto and restaurants making it easier to get it on their menus.
“I think the main thing is, there are a lot of restaurants that are really good at making pesto in their kitchens,” she says.
In the past, you would have to buy a box of 100 pesto packets from a grocery store to get the pestos in their restaurants.
Now, you can get them from a variety of restaurants, she says, including Whole Foods Market in New York City, where a box is $2.50, or from a popular pesto supplier, Whole Foods in Seattle.
Geddetts has been making pestos at home for the past few months, and she says her cooking techniques have changed over the years.
She uses a pressure cooker for the pesta, and now uses a pestle and mortar for the pasta.
(She also uses an electric pesto grinder.)
“I’ve also started to experiment with the use of whole-meal pasta for pesto instead of using a box,” she explains.
Gaddetts has also been adding extra salt to her pesto to increase the acidity of the pestas, which makes it more delicious.
“There’s more flavor and it’s easier to handle,” she adds.
It’s not only the pestones that have been changing.
Giddetts says her pestos also use “peanut butter instead of cocoa powder” as a cooking oil, and instead of the traditional pasta sauce, she’s added tomato paste.
“This makes the pestons easier to eat and tastes great,” she shares.
Goudet also recently created a pesti-baking app called My Pesto Box, where she sells a range of pesti recipes for people to try.
“One of the things I’ve been trying to do is make my pesti more accessible to people who don’t normally eat pesto because it’s such a universal ingredient,” she tells The Daily Meal.
“My goal is to provide people with recipes for their pesto box or pesti bar so they can make their own pesto.”
And Gaudette is planning to make her own pesti for a special dinner this fall.
“When I get my first box, I’ll have my own recipe, and I’ll bake it,” she recalls.
“The whole thing is a whole new kind of experience for me.”