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FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate Columbus Day With Pesto Sauce

Make pasta with pesto to celebrate
Columbus Day. Photo by Shyman | IST.

Most people don’t think of Columbus Day as an eating holiday, like Thanksgiving or Easter.

Yet, Columbus Day begs for an Italian dinner.

Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506), an explorer from the Republic of Genoa in northwestern Italy, voyaged four times to begin a colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. This initiated the first widespread contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans and was the beginning of European exploration and colonization of the Americas. (The term “pre-Columbian” refers to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and successive Europeans.)

Perhaps Spanish food should be enjoyed today as well, since Columbus’ voyages were financed by Queen Isabella of Castille, and Columbus Day is celebrated in that country as well as throughout the Americas (except for Canada).

So choose Spanish cuisine if you like; we’re planning an Italian dinner tonight—most appropriately, pasta with pesto.

  • Why make pesto? Liguria, the region of Italy that is home to capital city Genoa and the birthplace of Columbus, grows superb basil; the making of pesto began there. Learn the history of pesto.
  • Try this homemade pesto recipe.
  • Read the history of pasta. It originated in China, traveled to Arabia and then to Sicily, where Genovese sailors brought it to mainland Italy.
  • Look for pasta from Alte Valle Scrivia, a pasta-maker located in the hills above Genoa.
  • See our review of the best pesto.

 




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