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A pounded, pesto-like sauce of nuts, olive oil, garlic and basil–is unique to the Mediterranean region of France, since tender basil grows well only in temperate climates. It adds both body and an intense, herbaceous flavor to soups and stews.
Most often, pistou is defined as olive oil, garlic, basil, and potentially Parmegiano Reggiano, and is differentiated from pesto by the lack of pine nuts.