Pesto Pasta /

7 sensational ways to enjoy pesto

Around this time last year, I wrote about how I most like to enjoy our abundant tomatoes, and this year we’re just as overrun. My husband has madly been making oven-dried tomatoes, and I’m sure I’ll be putting up more than a few jars of pickled green tomatoes.

This year we’re also awash in basil. So we’re putting basil on our BLTs, on our pizzas, in our salads, and in, over, or on just about everything else we eat.

Good thing basil goes so well with tomatoes, right?

We’re also making a lot of basil pesto (here’s my recipe), which I freeze in ice cube trays to enjoy throughout the year. I also make pesto with oregano, rosemary, chard, and really, most any green thing I find myself having too much of. If you know how to make basil pesto, you can pretty much figure out how to make any other version—but if you insist on a recipe, here are a few at The Kitchn and a few more from Saveur. There’s also this one for a watercress-like pesto from my friends at Live Gourmet.

Meanwhile, seven sensational ways to enjoy all that amazing that pesto:

1. As a sandwich spread
At the café I used to own, one of our most popular sandwiches was pesto, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and mixed greens on an awesome Semifreddi’s seeded roll. To. Die. For. Nowadays, I most often enjoy it on—you guessed it—tomato sandwiches. But another big favorite is burgers. And don’t forget good ol’ grilled cheese.

2. As a sauce

How many times have you said to yourself, well, here I have a nice, simply prepared chicken breast—or steak or chop or fish fillet—but it’s so plain. How can I gussy it up? The answer is pesto. Drape it over all manner of grilled, pan-seared, or roasted meats, chicken, or fish and—voila!—now you have a snazzy entree.

Pesto is also great draped over or mixed into simply prepared veggies. Try it with steamed green beans, grilled eggplant, roasted mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

3. As a dressing

Thin pesto out with more oil and a bit of vinegar, and now you have a salad dressing. Almost as easy as oil and vinegar, but so much more flavorful.

4. As a dip

Stir pesto into yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, or a combination for the easiest dip ever. Great with chips or crudités.

5. As a pizza sauce

Use pesto instead of tomato sauce, then pile on your toppings. I especially like it with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella—there’s something really nice in the juxtaposition of the fresh cheese and the intensely herbal sauce.

6. As a mix-in

Stir pesto into scrambled eggs. Into warm bean or grain dishes or cold bean or grain salads. Into baked potatoes. Mix it into all manner of soups and stews.

7. And of course, as a pasta sauce

There’s a reason this is classic. It’s gooood.

What do you like to make pesto out of, and how do you like to use it?

Pesto Pasta /

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