To me fresh basil and classical Pesto Genovese will always mean summer, the aroma of fresh basil always transports me to a warm and sunnier climate no matter what time of year it is. I like to think that basil is a state of mind, a calming herb. Basil has also has been touted as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and helpful in improving your cardiovascular health.
Like we really needed more reasons to love basil…..sigh
This week I’m going to teach you How to Make Pesto Three Ways and if you watch my video you get lots of tips for making other types of pesto. I also talked about adjusting the flavor profiles by changing some of the other ingredients to make your own signature pesto!
When making pesto I always like to start with a classical Pesto Genovese. The other pestos I shared were an Arugula Pistachio Pesto with Gorgonzola, and a Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Once you see how easy it is to make pestos using many of your favorite ingredients you’ll be creating delightfully delicious dishes in your home with pesto.
I also gave some tips on how to use your pesto, like with my Chicken Rollantini.
Making Chicken Rollantini is a simple task. Pound the chicken breast out a bit so its thinner, salt and pepper the inside of the chicken breast, then spread a layer of Pesto Genovese on the inside of the Chicken Breast, add a layer of Sun-Dried Pesto down the center of the chicken, roll, dredge in seasoned bread crumbs, saute over med-high heat in olive oil, and finish in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Try rubbing some of the pesto into shrimp and grilling them. It couldn’t be easier and makes a delicious appetizer or topping for another dish.
And of course, adding your pesto to just cooked pasta makes a delicious light supper!
Table of Contents:
What can I Make Pesto Out of?
Pesto’s can be made from a variety of vegetables, the sky is the limit. Usually, pestos are made with some type of leafy green. That being said you can see I made a pesto out of sun-dried tomatoes. So use your imagination and get creative!
Some of my choices besides Basil and Arugula are:
- Carrot or Beet Greens
- Broccoli Rabe
The greens should have a pronounced flavor. Any green that is too subtle won’t have the flavor profile you need for pesto.
Do I have to use Cheese in Pesto?
No, you don’t. If you’re a Vegan you can even use Nutritional Yeast for the flavor or Romano cheese.
You can also swap out the grated Romano for other types of cheese, as I did in the Arugula Pesto. If it’s not a hard cheese add it in at the end.
Do I have to use Pine nuts in Pesto?
No, you don’t. For years we’ve swapped out pine nuts for the less expensive option of walnuts. But you leave the nuts out completely without have much of an impact on the flavor.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like these:
- Pan-Seared Scallops with Linguine al Pesto
- Chicken Rollantini with Arugula Pesto
- Pasta alla Caponata
- Pasta Aioli with Broccoli Rabe
I’m excited to try your recipes! My family loves traditional pesto. In fact, one of my kids favorites is when I make breadsticks slathered in pesto, and topped with mozzarella. So yummy!
Thanks for sharing all these different types of pesto . I would love to try that sun dried tomato pesto and Arugula pesto as I have tried other one.
Nancy at Whispered Inspirations
Mmmm a good pesto makes all the difference. One of my faves and you’re really made some great dishes.
Jenn @ EngineerMommy
I love a good pesto recipe. I never tried the one with gorgonzola but that sounds amazing to me! I have put pesto on shrimp before and it’s such an easy way to boost the flavor!
These all sound really good. I love having pesto. It’s so great for so many dishes.
This is great! I am going to try this this weekend.
I love basil pesto. I will definitely try your tips to use it. I should also try sun dried tomato pest. Must be fabulous!
Pesto is my fave! I will have to try these. It is nice to have some different twists on recipes.
I can’t wait to try your pesto recipes. I love trying new ways to use it.
I really like pesto, but I have only had store-bought pesto. It looks like something I should be making at home!
Yum, I would love all of these! I’ve always been a huge fan of pesto. I haven’t made it in ages
That pesto looks so good on all the things you showed us. I think I will use the basic recipe and eat it on pasta.
All those look yummy. I’m a bit partial to the green pesto with chicken. So good!!
Nut & Cheese-Free Pestos for me!!! These sound remarkable! ESPECIALLY on shrimp 🙂
The sundried tomato pesto was fabulous. We spread it on shrimp and baked in the oven. Would be delicious on pasta or as a spread for sandwiches or wraps. Can’t wait to try the others!
Chef Dennis Littley
Thanks for letting me know Lisa and I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed them!
I love the basil I always have a pot on the terrace. In original pesto Genovese does not put the parsley, but it might be good to try.
Dennis, all three sound fantastic, but the Arugula Pistachio Pesto with Gorgonzola is the one that I’m most excited about. I love arugula! How much Gorgonzola do you put in it?
Chef Dennis Littley
I put in about 2 tablespoons of Gorgonzola, but it creams up really well, so if you like more or want to augment it with a little romano for extra flavor, its all good!
This is very interesting ! I am going to try this this weekend. Thanks for sharing the recipes.
Robyn @ simply fresh dinners
Hi Chef Dennis,
I love pesto and have often wanted to make a sun-dried tomato version – this sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to try it.
The arugula and gorgonzola has got to be amazing! Thanks for 3 great recipes.
Chef Dennis Littley
you’re very welcome Robyn, Pesto’s really liven dishes and make everything seem fresher!
Christine from Cook the Story
These variations all sound wonderful!
Chef Dennis Littley
Thanks Christine! We do love the flavors they add to dishes!