This versatile basil sauce can do a lot more than bring pasta to life: we show you how to use it in 10 ways.
1. Dress a salad
In a screw-top jar, combine two tablespoons of pesto and a tablespoon each of white vinegar and olive oil. Shake well then toss through a salad.
2. Party favours
Slice a French stick into thin slices, or cut the crusts off sliced bread and cut into quarters. Spread each piece of bread with a teaspoon of pesto, a little grated parmesan or some bocconcini. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bread is nice and crispy.
3. Pesto potatoes
For a simple potato salad (great for barbecues!), boil or steam baby potatoes then allow to cool. Combine a couple of tablespoons each of pesto and low-fat sour cream, mayonnaise or natural yoghurt. Add to potatoes along with shredded shallots and semi-dried tomatoes. Toss well.
Next time you make risotto, serve each portion with a dollop of pesto. This is particularly delicious with tomato-based risottos, but works well with most.
5. Stuffed mushrooms
Combine a couple of tablespoons of pesto with one cup of low-fat cottage cheese and a little grated parmesan. Remove mushroom stems then arrange, gill-side-up on a baking tray. Dollop with cheese mixture then bake for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
6. Quick tarts
Spread a piece of reduced-fat puff pastry with pesto. Top with cherry tomatoes and pieces of feta or bocconcini. Bake in a hot oven until pastry is puffed and golden and cheese is slightly melted. Slice and serve.
7. Baked fish
Place white fish fillets onto large squares of baking paper. Spread each with pesto then fold up paper to make a parcel. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. This also works well with chicken breast fillets (cooking time will be longer).
Replace margarine with pesto next time you make a chicken or salad sandwich. Try it on wraps, focaccia or toasted sandwiches.
9. Steak sauce
Dollop a spoonful of pesto onto chops, steak, chicken or any other meat.
10. Eggs with more
Stir in a couple of teaspoons of pesto next time you beat eggs for scrambled eggs or an omelette. Or cook eggs as normal and dollop a teaspoon of pesto on top when they’re ready – it’s a great replacement for fresh herbs.