So I am cooking chorizo+squid pasta/stew and I think a little spoon of red pesto will be great addition to it.

I wonder should I put pesto while it's cooking or when sauce is ready?

1 Answer 1


Put the pesto in just as the sauce is done and as you're taking it off the heat. Generally, pesto does not benefit at all from cooking. By adding it to the sauce just as it is being pulled from the heat, it's temp will equalize with the sauce, without being cooked.

Are you planning to serve this over pasta? If so, drain the pasta (save some of the pasta water) while the pasta is still quite al-dente. Simmer and stir the pasta in the sauce for a minute or so. If it needs a bit of thinning out, add reserved pasta water. Only when it feels about ready to serve, add the pesto, again just as you remove it all from the heat.

If you are planning on cooking the pasta for a while in the sauce, as in soup, I encourage you to reconsider. I recommend that you make the sauce awesome. When the sauce just seems right, boil your pasta until al-dente (don't forget to salt). Add the pasta to the sauce, slowly, not too much, not too little. Use the reserved pasta water to get just the right consistency. Let it all simmer for a minute or two, let the pasta soak up the flavor. THEN, when it all looks great, add the pesto, stir, turn off the heat, and serve.

  • Thanks! One more thing - this will be my food for next few days (bachelor things :D), is it safe to reheat pasta sauce with pesto in it? I am asking this (and also this is why I asked the main question) because I know cheese doesn't like too much heat and IRC one of the ingredients of pesto is cheese
    – Peter
    Nov 6, 2014 at 22:23
  • Yes it is safe. Just refrigerate the whole thing as soon as it comes down to "warm". Then heat only as much as necessary, overheating will degrade the pesto. If you have more than a few servings worth, consider bagging and freezing in individual serving sized Ziplocs.
    – Jolenealaska
    Nov 6, 2014 at 22:29
  • 1
    phenomenal answer and follow-up @Jolenealaska! Nov 7, 2014 at 0:17
  • 1
    @Peter : it's easier to reheat pesto if you make it without cheese, and then add it after it's been heated. (it also freezes well without cheese)
    – Joe
    Nov 7, 2014 at 14:44
  • @Joe thanks! but I use ready pesto bought in store
    – Peter
    Nov 11, 2014 at 0:17

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