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Pesto is a green aromatic Italian sauce served with pasta and soup. A speciality of Genoa, its characteristic ingredient is basil. This is pounded with Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and often pine kernels or walnuts to a paste whose haunting flavour can transform a humble dish of fettuccine or linguine. The word pesto is a contraction of pestato, the past participle of the Italian verb pestare, ‘crush’. Its Provençal equivalent is pistou, which is similarly made but often omits the Parmesan; perhaps its principal role is in soupe au pistou, a vegetable broth to which a slug of pistou is added at the end of cooking.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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