Pesto….Presto!

Don’t be misled. This isn’t how to make pesto quickly (here’s a recipe for that ). Rather this is how to make a couple delicious and fast meals using pesto, which, when added to something, has the magical ability to turn ordinary food into the best thing ever. Since oil is a natural preservative, the shelf life of pesto is quite long. So these are things you can pull out when you’re in a time pinch over and over.

To the unaware: Pesto is a super nummy, crushed mixture of pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil and sometimes cheese. The brainchild of the Genoese in Italy.

Italian Grilled Cheese
This may or may not be truly Italian but with all the red, green and white colors stacked together– you are pretty much taking a bite out of their flag (I mean that respectfully). Feel free though to experiment with whatever cheese you have on hand, or use a few kinds in one sandwich. White cheese does have a lower fat content so it won’t get as melty or sticky as say, cheddar, but it is healthier. If you’re like me and refrigerate your butter i.e. doesn’t spread easy on bread, quickly run the stick over the hot pan and throw the slice of bread in. It’ll work just as well as if you had buttered the bread directly. You may need to re-butter the pan when you go to flip the sandwich.

2 slices of bread, buttered on one side
1-2 slices of tomato
2 slices of white cheese (muenster, Swiss, mozzarella, etc)
1 T of pesto

Heat a frying pan over medium heat on stove. Spread pesto on the non-buttered side of a slice of bread.  Put slice of bread in pan, buttered-side down. Then lay down a slice of cheese, tomato, 2nd slice of cheese and 2nd slice of bread (butter side up) on top. Cover. Cook on one side until bread is nicely browned, flip sandwich. Cook until cheese is melted through and serve.

Pesto Pasta
This is so easy and delicious that I have to give credit to my girl Lauren for serving this to me once and enabling me to share it with you. If you are making this in a one-two punch some week, try dicing up some of the left over tomato from your grilled cheese and throw it in this.

1 package of tortellini noodles
5 tbls pesto, roughly
shredded Gruyere, Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and place in large bowl. Spread pesto over noodles until evenly covered. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.

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