What Is Pesto Povero?

Pesto Povero

Short answer
Pesto Povero ("poor pesto" in English) is a highly aromatic sauce, particularly popular in Agrigento on Sicily's southern coast.

Long answer
If you're lucky enough to travel around Italy, you'll notice how pasta dishes change as you travel north to south. Unlike the UK, the north of Italy was traditionally the most prosperous part of the country whereas the south was underdeveloped.

The result was that pasta in the north was made with eggs whilst in the south - where they couldn't afford eggs - pasta was made with water.

There's a similar story with pesto. Southern Italians had to be a lot more frugal than the northerners, so they bulked our their pestos with lots more herbs and vegetables.

There's no set recipe for poor pesto. A bit like bouillabaisse it's made from whatever is in abundance at the time of making. Herbs may include basil, rosemary, mint, marjoram, sage and whatever else was close to hand. The final product is less heavy than traditional basil pesto, but even more fragrant and exceptionally refreshing.

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