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Pesto, Six Ways

pesto

Huge bunches of basil are readily available at the market right now, and the giant leaves make the perfect base for a classic summer spread: pesto. You can use pesto as a quick pasta sauce, a topping for pizza or simply as a dip for grilled bread. Try David Rocco’s classic Pesto Genovese, which uses basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. But basil isn’t a requirement for this delicious summer staple. Check out  a few more fun pesto combinations below.

Arugula + Pine Nuts

Michael Chiarello’s Arugula Pesto blends blanched arugula with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Cilantro and Parsley + Almonds

Daisy Martinez’s Cilanto Pesto is good with shrimp skewers or short ribs. It combines olive oil with cilantro, parsley, almonds, and vinegar.

Parsley + Lemon

David Rocco’s Parsley-Lemon Pesto combines finely chopped parsley with freshly squeezed lemon juice, Parmigiano cheese and extra-virgin olive oil.

pesto

Parsley + Walnuts

David Rocco’s Pesto Amalfitana skips traditional pine nuts in favor of walnuts, parsley, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil.

Artichoke Hearts + Parsley + Walnuts

Giada De Laurentiis makes a hearty Artichoke Pesto that’s great on grilled bread. It blends artichokes, parsley, walnuts, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Artichoke Pesto

Another great thing about pesto is that it freezes well, so you can enjoy summer basil straight into the fall. If you are freezing pesto, omit the cheese when blending and drizzle the top of your finished pesto with olive oil before covering and putting in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, thaw then stir in the cheese. It can be frozen for up to one month.

What’s your go-to pesto recipe?

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Comments (1418)

  1. dauphin posted 08/23/2011

    "Pepperoni" Pesto

    Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
    Roasted red pepper
    Chili flakes
    Red wine vinegar
    Toasted almonds
    Parmesan
    Salt
    Olive Oil

    • Sam posted 08/23/2011

      Yes, I am making this.

      • dauphin posted 08/23/2011

        Thanks, Sam. It is a recipe I have adapted from the original Sun Dried Tomato Pesto I found in the 80's.

        • dedenay12666308 posted 08/31/2011

          Don't you just love recipes from back in the day? Do you believe the 1980s was back in the day? Boy, and I gettin old!

  2. becca posted 08/23/2011

    I'm trying to come up with a good combination for a spearmint pesto. We use that flavor a lot in Armenian cooking. I haven't really tried it yet, but I planted lots of mint in the garden this year just so I could!

    • dauphin posted 08/23/2011

      I have tried a Mint Walnut Pesto.

      Mint
      Parsley
      Walnuts
      Lemon zest and juice
      Garlic
      Salt & pepper
      Pecorino
      olive oil

      It should be used in a day for it turns black very fast once the mint is chopped. It still tastes good but is not very attractive on the second to third day.

  3. Carman posted 08/23/2011

    Dauphin's idea sounds devine! Can't wait to try it (maybe tonight?). Becca I just planted some peppermint, mint and spearmint. I will be watching to see if you come up with something… getting hungry. :)

  4. Cindy Marie Kuest Myers posted 08/23/2011

    I just cooked up some chopped broccoli, cooled, squeezed fresh lemon on and added it to my basil pesto, whirled up in the food proc and ta-da, it stretched out the expensive pesto ingredients, while adding more veggies to the pasta for my kids. They had no idea and loved it..

  5. Justin posted 08/24/2011

    I always like making a alfredo sauce then adding in pesto and chicken. Easy and delicious!

  6. realfunfood posted 08/24/2011

    Strawberry basil pesto! Strawberries + basil + olive oil + lemon juice + salt. Toss over pasta – healthy, so good, and you'll never guess it's vegan.

  7. Terri Daniel posted 08/25/2011

    Tomato "Pesto"

    2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
    6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Combine, let sit on the counter for about an hour or so, then enjoy as bruschetta, a condiment on sandwiches, over pasta, on a salad – the possibilities are delicious.

  8. Terri Daniel posted 08/25/2011

    Oops – don't forget the olive oil.

  9. Barb posted 08/29/2011

    OK, how about a dessert pesto? Anyone up for trying? I have lot's of mint. But I have a yard full of chocolate mint. Yes. it is really fragerant. Brush against it and it smells like when you take the wrapper off a Hershey bar!
    I am thinking of using the same method, but any ideas on oil? I am thinking olive might be too overpowering? Open to ideas….

  10. beckloser posted 10/11/2011

    Omigosh,i love pesto,especially ths one,a must try!

  11. beckloser posted 10/11/2011

    Are you all adults,cos' i'm a teen,with no facebook!WHO LOVES PESTO WITH MY FARFALLE!

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