PESTOOOOOO BABEH! Who doesn’t love it!? If you’ve never made your own pesto, you’re seriously missing out. Between store-bought pesto versus homemade pesto, there’s just no contest. Plus, it’s fairly rare that you’ll find “clean” or paleo-approved pesto. When I was in Italy, there was sometimes one dish with pesto on the restaurant’s menu, but, mostly none at all, which I found surprising. More often than not, I saw pesto being used as a quick sauce/condiment on the street vendor food carts instead of in restaurants.
Italy’s different regions and cities all use slightly different ingredients and have very different signature dishes, thus, their pesto’s also vary by region. That may have been my favorite part of the trip… Visiting different cities and seeing the restaurant menus and the street food selections change dramatically. One of my favorite experiences on the trip was eating at a restaurant in Florence. We had the same tour guide/driver for a lot of our Italy trip, and we were constantly asking him to take us to the restaurants that HE eats at with his family – not the tourist traps.
The local restaurant he took us to was the tiniest hole in the wall and literally no one in there spoke a lick of English… PERFECT. Exactly what I was looking for. The food was amazingly fresh and cooked literally RIGHT in front of you, in a completely open and extremely small kitchen, all by one chef. When I think of pesto or any sort of authentic Italian food, I’m always transported back to our trip and that beautiful, hole-in-the-wall, Firenze restaurant.
Alright, chuck the sentimental bullcrap and let’s get down to pestobusiness. Luckily, pesto is stupid-easy to make & customize. Just switching the nuts instantly gives you a completely different tasting pesto! You can eat it hot or cold and on top of virtually anything, but, either way, fresh pesto is always best. You just can’t beat the flavor. Pick a region and enjoy!