All the way from Italian kitchens, this bright green sauce is now a global favorite.
If you haven’t tried pesto sauce yet, the flavor might first take you aback.
After all, it combines some very intense ingredients like cheese, basil, and garlic, among others.
But give it a chance, and you might just fall in love with its bold taste.
Are you planning to give this sauce a try? Or perhaps you’re working with a recipe that calls for pesto sauce.
Nevertheless, we’ll tell you exactly what does pesto sauce taste like.
This way, you’ll know what to expect and can decide for yourself whether you want to give it a go.
So, scroll down.
What is Pesto Sauce?
From chicken sandwiches to your favorite pasta dish, pesto sauce often frequents restaurant menus and home kitchens.
It’s a delicious sauce that can elevate the flavors of many recipes. But what exactly is pesto?
Pesto is an uncooked sauce made with a few simple ingredients like olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and basil leaves.
This is just the standard, traditional recipe though.
Nowadays, you can also find variations of this sauce that use different nuts or even sun-dried tomatoes.
Moreover, you can add your own unique twist to the sauce by mixing other herbs and spices.
Originating in Genoa, Italy, this sauce was originally made as a paste.
The word pesto simply means to pound or crush in Genovese.
And that’s exactly what you need to do to make this sauce, either by hand or with a food processor.
What Does Pesto Sauce Taste Like?
Despite containing a variety of ingredients, pesto sauce is mild flavored. It’s nutty, garlicky, and grassy.
Note that the taste is subject to changes because of the variations in ingredients.
For instance, some people add mint or parsley to their pesto sauce which changes the taste profile.
Hence, it isn’t easy to give a definite answer as to what this tastes like.
But one thing is for sure; basil flavor is predominant in this sauce, followed by garlic.
Pesto sauce has a creamy texture but is not smooth.
Most people use mortar to grind the ingredients, often leading to a chunky texture.
Based on the ingredient, many might think of it as a heavily flavored sauce.
But it’s surprisingly mild and blends well with all dish types.
Different types of Pesto Sauce
- Pesto Alla Genovese: This is the original and popular sauce among variants of pesto sauce. This sauce includes pine nuts, olive oil, basil leaves, salt, garlic, and Parmigiano Reggiano. .
- Pesto Agli Agrumi: It’s also known as citrus pesto, and the ingredients in this sauce are the same as Pesto Alla Genovese, with the addition of oranges and lemons.
- Pesto Alla Trapanese: It’s a Sicilian-based pesto sauce made of Pecorino cheese, olive oil, basil, garlic, and almonds.
- Pesto Rosso: This pasta is made of roasted red peppers, basil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s an excellent sauce for pasta and pizza.
How to Make Pesto Sauce?
Ready to jazz up your meals with some pesto sauce? Great.
Whether you want to use it as a pasta sauce, pizza topping, or sandwich spread, we’ve got you covered.
Check out this quick and easy recipe:
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves.
- 1/2 cup of olive oil.
- 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts.
- 3 cloves of garlic.
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
- A dash of lemon juice (optional).
- Add all the ingredients into a food processor or blender.
- Pulse until everything is fully combined and has reached your desired consistency. Generally, the texture should be smooth, neither too thick nor too watery.
- Taste and add more salt or pepper, if necessary.
- Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the fridge for later use.
If you want to take the traditional route, you can replace the food processor with a mortar and pestle.
Just pound all the ingredients together until you get a paste-like consistency.
This method is more time-consuming, but some people prefer it because it results in a more flavorful sauce.
With pesto, you can play around with the ingredients to find a flavor you like.
For example, feel free to add more cloves if you want a more intense garlic flavor.
On the other hand, if you want a creamier sauce, add more cheese.
Of course, you can also use different nuts in place of pine nuts.
Many modern recipes call for walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, pecans, etc.
Just use whatever you have on hand.
What Does Pesto Taste Good with?
Is that even a question? Pesto sauce tastes good with just about anything.
Of course, the classic pair- pesto and pasta, deserves a mention.
This dish is simple yet so flavorful and satisfying.
Just add some pesto sauce to your favorite pasta, and you’re good to go.
But pesto isn’t limited to just pasta dishes.
As we mentioned before, pesto is a very versatile sauce.
You can use it as a pasta sauce, pizza topping, sandwich spread, or dip.
It also pairs well with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, and vegetables.
The best part about cooking pesto with these food items is that you don’t even have to add any extra seasoning or spices.
The sauce is flavorful enough on its own. Pesto is such a flavorful sauce that a little goes a long way.
So, start with a small amount and add more as needed.
Pesto Sauce makes an excellent accompaniment to most of the main dishes.
Because of its mild flavor, it complements the main food item.
Since it has many variants, the taste may vary.
But the common ingredients remain the same in most of these sauces.
You can make this sauce yourself by following the steps mentioned above.
Or buy readymade pesto sauce from grocery stores or online if you don’t want to make it or don’t have the required ingredients.
Regardless, give this sauce a shot with your pasta or sandwich if you haven’t tried it yet.