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What to do with pre-made Pesto Sauce

I have never worked with it before and got a big tub of it from Costco. Any ideas how to use it?

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  1. I like a good smear on a sandwich with sweet butter and good ham.

    1. Other sandwich ideas: sliced tomato, arugula, fresh mozzarella and pesto; pesto and grilled chicken breast; pesto, roasted peppers and onions and sliced mozzarella; grilled portabella and pesto; non-sandwich: filled portabellas or other mushrooms with pesto and broil; top halved tomatoes with pesto and broil; pasta of course; cold pasta salad with vegetables like peppers, scallions, small cubes of cheese, tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes. You may tire of pesto items before your big tub is empty - maybe freeze some in ice cube trays for later use.

      1. Besides the great ideas already posted ...
        --dollop swirled into soup
        --mixed with a little mayo for a pestomayonnaise is also great on sandwiches
        --use on pizza in addition to or in replacement of tomato sauce
        --the cold pesto salad we like in the summer is orzo and pesto (all room temp) and then some sprinkling of sundried tomato on top
        --served just to spread on crostini as a before dinner snack or picnic food

        We also freeze our pesto in icecube trays (then pop them out into a ziploc). It's very convenient for future uses.

        1. Mixed into sour cream it makes a delicious dip for a crudité platter, and tossed with rinsed-and-drained canned beans (anything from pinto to cannelini to Great Northern) and some added oil and a bit of lemon juice it makes a delightful cold spring or summer dish. But janniecooks understated the case: you WILL get awfully tired of pesto before the tub goes dry, unless you invite the congregation of your church or whatever over for a giant pesto & pasta feed...so freeze some. I've read that you shouldn't freeze it if it has nuts and/or cheese in it, and yeah, those can come out tasting a trifle stale, so to avoid any chance of freezer burn I would suggest closed plastic containers instead of ice cube trays. Rubbermaid makes some very nice little half-pint or so plastic tubs, and that's just enough for a pound of spaghetti.

          1. Pesto & cream cheese on a bagel is delicious, maybe add dried or fresh tomatoes
            on a sandwich or crackers with mozzerella and tomato
            on top of a grilled chicken breast
            smoked turkey, provalone, pesto sandwich
            ... I swear I put the stuff on everything

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emmmily

              Oh, Emmmily! Thanks for the wonderful memory, which I had long forgotten! My dad (a former chef) used to make fresh pesto and we would smear it on a bagel with just a hint of cream cheese. It truly is divine.

            2. i absolutely love pesto! in addition to what other posts have mentioned, i love mixing it in with scrambled eggs at the very end - delicious! i also use it on grilled chicken and to make pesto vinagrettes for salads.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vballgal

                The cafe in the building where I work puts it on breakfast sandwiches-- toasted whole grain english muffin, slice of tomato, sausage patty, cheese, pesto, egg. It's not healthy but it IS really tasty.

              2. Chicken breasts, skin on... ease a teaspoon or your finger under the skin to separate it from the flesh. Using the back of the teaspoon, smear the pesto under the skin. Add a thin slice of prosciutto and grill.

                toss baked or steamed veggies in it.

                Liberally coat a roasting cut of beef before cooking.. this comes out as a great crust.

                spread it on sour dough bread, top with baby bocc's and grill until cheese is oozy. Add sliced fresh tomato and basil leaves.

                Sandwich it between 2 slices of eggplant before pan frying.

                1. What great suggestions!
                  Baked jumbo shells stuffed with mozzarella and ricotta with pesto is delicious and you can use a lot of that pesto from Costco..
                  On a homemade pizza too..

                  1. Fast and easy: Boil Bow-tie pasta (farfalle) in plenty of water. Just before it's done, drop in your veggies (I like Italian blend frozen vegetables). When the veggies are hot, drain it all (cooking them together in one pot saves you from washing two pots, but if you'd rather cook them separately, go for it). Stir in a couple of dollops of pesto, along with a little extra virgin olive oil or butter. Eat. Or take it a step further: pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with parmesan cheese, and bake until golden. Yum!

                    Pesto is usually good with anything you would normally use Italian-style tomato sauce on - pizza, pasta, chicken, etc...

                    Pesto does come out of the freezer a little stale, so it isn't good for spreading, but it will be just fine for mixing into a dish.

                    1. No one's mentioned just eating it with a spoon! If you tire of it, just ship it to me.

                      Oh, and if you do freeze any, I assume it came without cheese already added, it doesn't taste as good out of the freezer when the parm or whatever has already been added.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MsDiPesto

                        We almost eat it with a spoon ... the family "recipe" involves wheat thins dipped in homemade pesto (normally made with basil and garlic from our own garden). What isn't eaten goes into the freezer.

                      2. Like the posters above I use a lot of the stuff since I normally use all my leftover basil for this before it dies in the winter.

                        I love it on pizza instead of red sauce with mozz, parm and sundried tomatoes.

                        Pesto Veggie Pasta Salad- I think epicurious is where I found this really good recipe it was a huge hit at the family reunion.

                        I will put it on chicken and roast and serve with veggies and taters.

                        I also love it for paninis. Or as mayo.

                        It is great for a pasta with chicken and veggies or just veggies.

                        I freeze it in the small glad containers because I make so much and it defrosts so fast it is really convenient.

                        I've put it in mashed potatoes or on roasted potatoes, all sorts of stuff. Springtime Fiance gets a ton of pesto so I use it up before my new basil arrives.

                        1. Run some pesto down the center of a fish filet - mahi, swordfish, halibut work well but any thick filet will work. Don't spread out pesto, just kind of a nice little mound running the length of the fish. Bake or broil until desired degree of doneness is reached. As the oil in the pesto heats up during cooking, the pesto starts to spread out and cover the fish.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            Tuna works well for this as well, either ahi/yellowfin or albacore steaks.

                            Basically, you can put pesto on just about anything you would put butter or sauce on. Or as other people have suggested, eat it with a spoon.

                            Pesto was definitely one of the best food fads of the '80s that has deservedly become a permanent culinary fixture. I remember a few years ago reading a column by a food writer who said that she'd never heard of pesto, let alone eaten it, until she was in her 20s, but her small children would eat an old boot if it had pesto on it. I think pesto became really popular with the widespread advent of the food processor, which made making pesto ridiculously easy.

                          2. Thank you all for so many wonderful suggestions. I tried a few today:

                            I spread it on a pizza dough, added tomatoes and mozzerella.

                            Through it in with farfalle and veggies/chicken.

                            About to make a tuna pesto salad to eat with crackers.

                            Haven't gotten pesto'd out yet but I am sure I will by the end of the week!

                            (btw im going to try it on a bagel w/ cream cheese in the morning for breakfast)

                            1. I freeze a ton of it in the summer and still have a ton in the freezer so this is a timely thread.

                              TJ has a pretty good bottled tomato sauce but I always add a cube of pesto to spice it up.

                              I also defrost a cube before dinner in a small bowl and then mix with evoo to dip bread in during dinner.

                              and simple dish of pasta with pesto and lots of grated parm has become one of my favorite comfort food dinners.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: geminigirl

                                I forgot, I also add a cube or two in when i'm mixing up a loaf of beer bread, but it could easily be mixed into any sort of bread/biscuit recipie...

                              2. Next time you make eggplant parm use half pesto and half tomato sauce between the layers of fried eggplant and cheese.

                                Swirl thinned pesto in a ricotta cheesecake recipe for a savory recipe.

                                Toss walnuts, pecans and green olives in a pan with thinned pesto for a delicious salad garnish instead of salad dressing.

                                Spread on half a fresh tomatoe and place under broiler for a few seconds.

                                Add to tuna fish, canned chicken salad or egg salad for open face sandwiches.

                                1. I whisk a teaspoon or two into my vinaigrette. Adds wonderful flavor for a nice mixed green salad.

                                  1. Mr. Morticia had the brilliant idea of mixing the pesto into eggs prior to scrambling - his pesto-scramble is a yummy way to enjoy leftover pesto!