Anyone ever had the Chicken Pesto Panini at Atlanta Bread Company? If you have, you know why I absolutely HAD to try to make it myself. It is super expensive, at over $8 for just the sandwich! So here is what I did. I got the basic ingredients for simple pesto, although I omitted the pine nuts because I think they suck. As I was gathering the necessary items, I happened to notice that the brand Knorr makes a pesto sauce mix.
Which at first I found to be a little weird and off-putting since it had you cook it on the stove, and fresh pesto is just basically blended together and used. So- here is how I made the Fresh Basil Pesto:
- 1/3 cup Parmesan (or other firm cheese)
- 1 Bunch Basil
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil (start with 1/4 cup and add more to your liking)
- 2 cloves fresh Garlic
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Pull all the leaves off your basil and roughly chop your garlic. Put basil, garlic, and cheese in food processor and pulse. Scrape down the sides and add a generous pinch of salt and lemon juice. Keep adding and pulsing until you like the way it tastes.
It was DELICIOUS. Fresh and bright.
So then after this, I just followed the package directions for the Knorr pesto mix which was just adding olive oil, water, boiling, and then simmering.
It too, was DELICIOUS. I was looking for an exact replica of the Atlanta Bread Company pesto…and I found it! For shits and giggles, I decided to just mix them both together and add another dash of lemon juice, (I love love love lemon!). IT. WAS. THE. BEST. DAMN. PESTO. EVER. OH. MY. GOD. I made myself the most epic sandwich ever – with my crockpot shredded chicken, medium cheddar cheese off the block, pesto, mayo, all put into a hot iron skillet with a little butter. Amazeballs. Simply amazeballs.
In conclusion – which one is better? They’re both really really good. When mixed together – it is definitely the best basil pesto I have ever had in my LIFE. And on a side note – some recipes say you can freeze it in ice cube trays and pull it out as needed – I tried this, and failed miserably. Maybe if you made it without the oil, froze it, and added oil when you thawed it out, that could work. But with the oil in it, it wouldn’t come out of the mold and I had to let it melt out onto a plate and put it in the fridge.