Photo by Margo Greenman

Culinary Chemistry: Pesto Cream Sauce with White Wine

by | Jun 2, 2016

Pesto is one of those unique foods that can be enjoyed about one thousand different ways. It can be used as a condiment on a sandwich, a sauce for your pasta or the singular topping on your pizza. Sometimes it’s a condiment, other times is the main attraction. And, if you’re as big of a pesto fan as I am, sometimes a spoon is all you need.

While I typically enjoy my pesto pure and simple, sometimes it’s fun to switch things up. By adding a couple dollops of pesto to this rich and creamy Alfredo sauce, you no longer have to make the hard decision about what kind of sauce to dress your noodles in — you can have both.

A dazzling white wine like Charles Smith’s Eve Chardonnay is really the key to this sauce. The wine helps to bring out the sharp tang of the cheese and basil while adding its own aromatic burst of pair, tangerine and “true Chardonnay flavor.” Be sure to enjoy a glass or two alongside your dinner to bring the meal full circle.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yields: 2 ¼ cups

4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup Charles Smith’s Eve Chardonnay
2 cups whole milk
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons fresh pesto (
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté garlic until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a small pot over medium heat, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, being careful not to let the butter brown.

Whisk in flour until a smooth paste forms. Do not let the mixture color.

Slowly whisk in white wine and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until reduced by half. Add the garlic and stir. Incorporate the milk, bringing the heat up slighting until the mixture nearly reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture thickens.

Once desired consistency has been reached, take sauce off heat and stir in mozzarella, stirring constantly until cheese has melted completely. Stir in pesto, salt and pepper.

Use immediately or hold it for later. This sauce is tastes great mixed with your favorite pasta, used in a white lasagna or served with tender, grilled chicken breasts.


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