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How do you use pesto?

  • g

I received a jar of basil pesto as a gift, and am unfamiliar with how to use it, as it's not something in my regular cooking repertoire. Can someone educate me on how it's used and served? I can only guess--Do you dot it on a finished baked chicken? Marinate meats with it? Use it like a spread on toasted bread? I'm really not sure. Please provide ideas, or else it will be sitting unused in my fridge.

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  1. cook up a big ole pot a pasta and toss it til it turns green... add some extra fresh grated romano and yummy, yum, yum

    3 Replies
    1. re: the rogue

      I also add it to softened butter and re-chill, or make bite-sized biscuits with a little sour cream and pesto added, or add it to softened cream cheese for a delicious and fragrant spread on toasted french bread. Or if you're baking bread, just throw in a spoonful or two.

      Or, with pasta as mentioned above, or anything involving tomatoes.

      1. re: Betty

        For a simple appetizer-line a small bowl with saran wrap-place a healthy amount of marscapone(or combine marscapone and cream cheese)at the bottom. Add a layer of pesto-more marscapone-then a layer of ground sundried tomatoes. repeat until you fill bowl. Cover with saran and chill. Invert onto plate and serve with crackers, baguette etc. Pretty and delicious.

        1. re: J.Gorman

          I do this also, I line it with cheesecloth because I like that texture - but I have started mixing some cheese with the pesto and some (not too much) cheese with the tomatoes also, so that the layers adhere together better. It stays neater on the serving tray if people can slice off pieces that don't fall apart.

    2. you put it on pasta....finito

      1 Reply
      1. re: sourpatch

        Finito - apart from stirring it into rice salad, made with risotto rice. Shredded basil on top.

      2. c
        Caitlin Wheeler

        I love pesto on sandwiches -- fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes and pesto is a favorite. It's also terrific on grilled chicken sandwiches. And I had a tuna melt with pesto mixed into the tuna salad the other day, and it was pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caitlin Wheeler

          Besides plain old pasta, sandwiches are my favorite use. I like to make a 3/4 spinach 1/4 basil pesto for ham or turkey or as an alternative to the tapenade in muffalettas - I like to make the sandwiches ahead of time, wrap them very tightly in plastic wrap and let them hang in the fridge for at least several hours before serving.

          AND, dinner tomorrow is figured out.

          Damn, zombie thread!

        2. I love it in soup, any vegetable, especially minestrone. Just stir in a spoonful, more or less, per bowl.

          Lisa

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cricket
            c
            Caitlin Wheeler

            There's a French soup called soupe au pistou or pesto soup which is a vegetable soup containing kidney beans, pasta carrots, new potatoes, green beans, sometimes zucchini and bacon. When the soup is made, stir a big spoonful of pesto into each serving, and enjoy!

            I also like to make a chilled tomato basil soup when its hot (Just tomatoes and basil in the blender. Sometimes I add milk) and serve with a dollop of ricotta and pesto on top.

          2. On pasta, but the way they do in Liguria: add young green beans (or haricots vert) and cubed potatoes to boiling water along with the pasta. Stir enough of the hot pasta water into a good amount of pesto to get the consistency of thick whipping cream. Drain beans, pasta, and potatoes all together and toss with the pesto, adding a dab of butter (delicious excess). The potatoes break apart and lend the most wonderful, rich texture to the "sauce". The beans should be soft. Top with romano or parmesan. An incredibly yummy, but rich, one-dish meal!