What Meat Goes with Pesto Pasta?

One of the most popular dishes around is pesto pasta. It is simple to make, and it can be paired with various meats.

What meat goes with pesto pasta? Here is some of the popular pairings:

  • Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Pesto Shrimp Pasta Salad
  • Ground Beef Skillet Pasta with Pesto and Ricotta
  • And many more.

In this blog post, we will discuss what meat goes best with pesto pasta so that you can create the perfect meal for your family or guests!

Pesto Pasta: Why Is It so Famous?

pesto sauce
Pesto sauce. Credit: canva

What is pesto pasta?

Pesto pasta is a dish that consists of pesto sauce and pasta.

Pesto, or (to refer to the original dish) pesto alla Genovese, is a sauce produced in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy.

The popularity of pesto pasta has grown in recent years because it is a simple dish that can be made quickly and easily. It is comfort food that is also a great dish to serve at parties or gatherings because it can be served as a main course or side dish.

What is a pesto pasta sauce made of?

The pesto sauce traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, fresh basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) or Pecorino Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). And all is combined with olive oil.

This combination of ingredients creates a flavorful and creamy sauce that can be used on any pasta.

What does it taste like?

Pesto pasta has a distinctively sharp and nutty flavor. The garlic, cheese, and pine nuts give the sauce a savory flavor, while the basil leaves add a touch of sweetness.

The olive oil used in pesto pasta adds richness to the dish and helps to balance out the strong flavors of the other ingredients.

Why is so special about it?

Pesto pasta is a popular dish because it is simple to make and can be paired with various meats. The sharp and nutty flavor of the pesto sauce goes well with chicken, shrimp, or fish.

The versatility of basil pesto pasta makes it a great dish for busy weeknights or to serve at parties or gatherings. It can be served as a main course or side dish.

What Meat Goes with Pesto Pasta?

pesto pasta with chicken
Pesto pasta with chicken. Credit: canva

There are many different types of meat that go well with pesto pasta. The most popular meats are chicken, shrimp, and sausage. However, you can also use beef, pork, or lamb.

Chicken

If you are looking for a meal that is low in fat and calories, chicken is the best option. Chicken breast is lean and has a mild flavor that pairs well with the creamy pesto sauce.

Some of the most popular chicken and pesto pasta dishes are:

  • Chicken Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
  • Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta and Broccoli
  • Baked Chicken Meatballs with Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Shrimp

Shrimp is a popular seafood option that goes well with pesto pasta. It is low in calories and fat, and it has a delicate flavor that goes well with the pesto sauce.

Some of the most popular shrimp and pesto pasta dishes are:

  • Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Broccoli
  • Pesto Shrimp Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Sausage

A sausage is a good option for those who want a heartier meal. Sausage is high in protein and fat, but it has a strong flavor that pairs well with the pesto sauce.

Some of the most popular sausage and pesto pasta dishes are:

  • Sausage Pesto Pasta with Peppers
  • Pesto Sausage Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Sausage Pesto Pasta

Beef, Pork, and Lamb

Beef, pork, and lamb are also good options for pesto pasta. These meats are high in protein and fat, but they have a strong flavor that can stand up to the pesto sauce.

Some of the most popular beef, pork, lamb, and pesto pasta dishes are:

  • Beef Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms
  • Pork Pesto Pasta Salad
  • Lamb Pesto Pasta with Feta Cheese
  • Pesto Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Ground Beef Skillet Pasta with Pesto and Ricotta
  • Strip Steak with Pesto Pasta
  • Creamy Pesto Fusilli with Beef
  • Pesto Pasta Bolognese

Fish

pesto spaghetti with salmon
Pesto Spaghetti with salmon. Credit: canva

Fish is a good option for those looking for a lighter meal. Fish is low in calories and fat, but it has a delicate flavor paired with the pesto sauce.

The best types of fish for the pairings are white fishes such as cod, halibut, tilapia, and salmon. They are perfect because they do not have a strong flavor that will compete with the pesto sauce.

Some of the most popular fish and pesto pasta dishes are:

  • Tilapia Pesto Pasta
  • Salmon Pesto Pasta
  • Cod Pesto Pasta
  • Pesto Cod Pasta Salad
  • Halibut Pesto Pasta
  • Salmon Pesto Pasta Bake

How to Choose the Right Meat for Pesto Pasta

When choosing meat for pesto pasta, there are a few things to consider.

Decide if you want a light meal or a hearty meal

You need to decide if you want a light or hearty meal.

If you are looking for a light meal, chicken or shrimp is the best option. If you are looking for a hearty meal, sausage or beef is the best option.

Consider the flavor of the meat.

You need to consider the flavor of the meat.

Chicken, shrimp, and sausage have a mild flavor that pairs well with the pesto sauce. Beef, pork, and lamb have a strong flavor that can stand up to the pesto sauce.

Consider the texture of the meat.

You need to consider the texture of the meat.

Chicken and shrimp are both lean meats that have a delicate texture. Sausage is a fatty meat that has a hearty texture. Beef, pork, and lamb are all tough meats with a chewy texture.

Consider the cooking time.

You need to consider the cooking time.

Chicken and shrimp are both quick-cooking meats that can be cooked in less than ten minutes. Sausage is slow-cooking meat that can take up to an hour to cook. Beef, pork, and lamb are all slow-cooking meats that can take two hours to cook.

With so many options, it can be challenging to choose the right meat for your pesto pasta. However, if you keep these things in mind, you will be able to create the perfect meal for your family or guests!

Recipes

Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

This chicken Pesto Pasta is an easy 20-minute dinner recipe. The recipe only needs simple ingredients of creamy homemade pesto sauce, garlic, and juicy chicken breasts are served over pasta. A family fave!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups pesto sauce homemade or store-bought pesto
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of water, following the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then put it in the sizzling oil. Brown until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet, stir and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
  4. Combine the pesto sauce with the broth and pasta water for extra flavor, and deglaze the pan. Give it a good stir.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer, then add the cooked pasta. If the mixture thickens more than you want, add additional water. Toss to coat the pasta in pesto sauce.
  6. Plate the servings, and garnish with fresh parsley, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ground Beef Skillet with Pesto and Ricotta Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or meatloaf mix
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz whole tomatoes, pureed
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 8 oz water
  • 10 oz short pasta, such as trivelli, fusilli, penne, shells, etc.
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (homemade or store-bought jar of pesto)
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese, whole milk or part-skim
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Add the ground beef, onion, and salt to a large nonstick pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the ground beef has cooked chiefly through.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
  3. Mix the pureed whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
  4. Spread the pasta in the skillet and then spoon over the tomato mixture. Push down any pieces to ensure that all of the pasta is covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir the ingredients throughout the cooking.
  5. Taste the pasta to be sure it’s cooked through, then stir in 2 tablespoons of pesto and dollop spoonfuls of ricotta on top.
  6. Cover the skillet, remove the heat from the pan and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve the pasta with extra pesto and parmesan cheese.

See also:

FAQs

What meats go well with pesto pasta?

There are a variety of meats that go well with pesto pasta, including chicken, shrimp, sausage, beef, pork, and lamb. You can also choose fish as a lighter option.

Is pesto good with meat?

Pesto is good with meat, including chicken, shrimp, sausage, beef, pork, lamb, and fish. It is because pesto has a strong flavor that can stand up to the hearty flavors of these meats.

What does pesto pair well with?

Pesto pairs well with various things, including pasta, chicken, shrimp, sausage, beef, pork, lamb, fish, rice, potatoes, and vegetables. It is because pesto has a strong flavor that can stand up to the hearty flavors of these meats.

What do Italians serve with pesto?

Pesto is an ideal complement to potato and pasta salads and a long-standing flavor-enhancing backdrop add-in in countless bean, tomato-based Italian soups and vegetable stews – most notably in minestrone Genovese.