Upgrade Your Grilled Cheese With Herbaceous Pesto Sauce

The grilled cheese sandwich is a classic comfort food cherished for its nostalgic, ooey-gooey goodness. When savory elements are introduced to the already impeccable carb and dairy medley, the humble dish is instantly elevated. For instance, Mashed recipe developer Christina Musgrave's 5-ingredient pesto grilled cheese sandwich recipe offers a delightful twist on the all-time favorite. The addition of pesto, a legendary condiment with Genoese roots, can make the most basic grilled cheese even more appetizing.

At the heart of Musgrave's recipe lies the winning combination of thick-sliced Italian bread, softened butter, shredded mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and, of course, pesto, a sauce that can be used on more than just pasta. Each component plays a crucial role in creating the ideal bite. Musgrave's preference for traditional basil pesto brings a burst of freshness to the unpretentious sandwich. Made from a blend of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, pesto instills grilled cheese with aromatic herbs and a subtle garlicky kick.

Pesto adds a vibrant color and taste to grilled cheese

Christina Musgrave's pesto-infused grilled cheese sandwich is a testament to the transformative power of simple ingredients. While the flavor and texture of food are essential, aesthetics are another captivating factor. Pesto's iconic, vivid green hue enhances the visual appeal of anything it touches, including the beloved sandwich. Moreover, pesto's spreadable, puréed consistency pairs perfectly with the chewy melted cheese and crunchy bread. 

For an equally delicious alternative to the nutty green sauce, Musgrave suggests trying pesto rosso, a bold, red variation of the topping. There are a few key differences between red pesto and green pesto, particularly the presence of tomatoes (some recipes call for sun-dried), peppers, and/or pimentos in the former. Pesto rosso imbues the handheld meal with a rich, umami depth. The sweet heat of the peppers complements the creamy mozzarella and robust, zesty tang of the tomatoes.