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Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - Page updated at 02:30 p.m.
Are pine nuts essential to pesto?
By Kathleen Purvis
The Charlotte Observer
Q. What exactly is "pesto"? I thought it always included pine nuts. But I've seen a lot of things lately that don't contain pine nuts, yet are called "pesto."
A. Pesto comes from an Italian word that means "pounded." It originally was made with a mortar and a pestle, a stubby tool you use to crush ingredients together.
The classic version, of course, is basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil. But you crush all kinds of things together. The base can range from basil to arugula and the nuts can range from walnuts to pine nuts. I've made basil pesto with pecans, and I saw a version recently that was made with mint If you love pesto, you owe it to yourself to make it at least once using a mortar and pestle instead of a food processor. You get a different, rougher texture that has more flavor.
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