3 of Giada De Laurentiis’ Best Pesto Recipes

Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis knows her way around one of Italy’s greatest imports, pesto. 

Here are three of the chef’s popular pesto dishes that were also a hit with reviewers.

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis wears a multi-colored sleeveless dress in this photograph.
Giada De Laurentiis | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Giada De Laurentiis’ sun-dried tomato pesto 

De Laurentiis writes in her cookbook Everyday Italian of the star of this intensely tomatoey sauce: “Sun-dried tomatoes are a wonder ingredient: They offer the rich, sweet flavors of fresh tomatoes, but they’re available year-round, they have a long pantry life, they don’t take up much room, and they pack a lot of flavor into a small punch.”

And it’s so simple to make with these four ingredients, not including salt and pepper: jarred sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, fresh basil leaves, fresh garlic cloves, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Everything but the cheese is blended in a food processor “until the tomatoes are finely chopped.” The Parmesan cheese is then stirred in and the chef recommends serving this smooth and hearty sauce over penne.

Get the recipe on Food Network’s site.

De Laurentiis’ Sicilian pesto

On her food and lifestyle blog Giadzy, the culinary personality breaks down the difference between the sweeter Sicilian pesto and Pesto alla Genovese, the verdant sauce that most pesto lovers are familiar with.

Sicilian pesto, also known as Pesto alla Trapanese, “is much lighter and fresher tasting than the dishes of northern regions.”

What makes Sicilian pesto different from “conventional” pesto, she writes, is that “it uses almonds as opposed to pine nuts, and gets finished with fresh tomatoes, which are bountiful in the south.”

In a food processor, almonds and garlic are pulsed “until finely chopped.” Basil leaves, fresh tomatoes, salt, and pepper are added and further pulsed, along with a “thin stream” of oil emulsifying the sauce. Once it’s smooth, Parmesan cheese is stirred in.

You’ll find the recipe at Giadzy.

The chef’s definition-stretching Mushroom pesto

Once again, the Simply Giada star from her cookbook: “In my family, pesto was always a green sauce. But like many people, I’ve stretched the definition of pesto and expanded its horizons. … This recipe uses a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms, both of which bring their own pronounced textures and flavors to the dish.”

Her recipe features dried porcini mushrooms, quartered white button mushrooms, toasted walnuts, fresh garlic cloves, fresh Italian parsley leaves, olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and of course, salt and pepper.

Reviewers on Food Network’s site were wowed by this unique pesto.

“I made this item today after seeing it on the show. Wow is it ever delicious. I could eat the whole bowl. I’m thinking that it would also taste good on pasta. You just get a hint of the walnut taste and the texture is so nice. Love this recipe it’s a keeper!,” one home cook wrote.

Another reviewer added, “This was a great recipe. Perfect for entertaining. …  My husband does not like mushrooms, but really liked these.”

Once it’s all done, the chef recommends serving it on baguette slices.

Get the recipe on Food Network’s site.

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