Classic basil pesto instantly transforms ordinary dishes into something delicious and different in a flash. By making it at home you can control and vary the recipe to your taste using top quality ingredients. Pesto is so versatile. Try some of the ideas in my list below.
Pesto – A Fresh, Uncooked Sauce
Traditionally from Genoa, Italy, pesto is a fresh uncooked sauce or paste made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, grated cheese and garlic. I add a little fresh lemon juice to mine.
Historically pesto was made in a mortar and pestle. I prefer the power of my food processor to make it easily and quickly. Make it chunky or smooth. It’s up to you.
What to Do With Pesto
- Stir a couple of generous tablespoons into mashed potatoes for pesto mashed potatoes
- Toss pesto with roasted red potatoes when they are hot out of the oven
- Transform a simple turkey sandwich into something special with pesto instead of mayo and mustard, then grill it on a Panini maker for a pesto Panini
- Make pesto-mayonnaise by combining pest and a little mayo (Veganiase is the best!)
- Add to portobello mushrooms as an appetizer or meatless main dish
- Garnish soup, like the classic tomato soup recipe
- Mix with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt as a dip for raw vegetables (crudités)
- Stir it into risotto for a rich, vibrant green Pesto Risotto
- Thin pesto down with a little half and half or milk, warm it up and made a sauce for fresh broiled swordfish or salmon
- Toss with cooked, chilled rotini (corkscrew) pasta, add tomatoes if desired for a quick, cool pasta salad
- Put a few dollops on a platter of sliced tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled with good Balsamic vinegar and olive oil for an Italian Caprese-style salad
- Add a little to a vinaigrette for a pesto dressing for tossed green salad or roasted or grilled vegetables
- Garnish deviled eggs
- Thin the pesto with milk or half and half, warm, and make a sauce for grilled or roast fish, like halibut or salmon
But the dish that’s a “go-to” when I’ve got a hungry husband in need of a fast dinner is pasta with pesto and chicken. It’s one of his all-time favorites. Just follow the link for my recipe.