So, I decided I'd make my own sun-dried tomato pesto spread, and proceed to eat it on delicious bread and then use it as a spread for one hell of a grilled cheese sandwich. Everyone has different opinions on how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. I change it up depending on the recipe I'm making, but I usually butter the bread (not the pan), use shredded cheese, and heat the pan over medium low so it can slowly get a nice crunch to the outside while getting the perfect melty cheese inside.
The pesto couldn't be easier to make. You just toss everything in the food processor and pulse until it's done. If you use fresh sun-dried tomatoes you will need to add 1/4 cup olive oil, but if you're just purchasing a jar of sun-dried tomatoes (which is what I did) they come pre-packed in olive oil.
It's a grown up grilled cheese that kids will like too because it tastes slightly like my pizza grilled cheese, just without the pepperonis. I used the Swiss and Havarti grated blend from Trader Joe's for the cheese, but you could also use mozzarella. Some of the other mild white cheeses would work as well. This should be your lunch tomorrow.
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Makes roughly 1 cup
8-8.5oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or 1 cup fresh sun-dried tomatoes)
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
*If using fresh sun-dried tomatoes, add 1/4 cup olive oil.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until well-combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are using fresh sun-dried tomatoes, add all ingredients except the olive oil and pulse together prior to adding the EVOO. Once ingredients are combined, slowly add the olive oil and pulse until smooth. You do not want the spread to be liquidy, so use your judgment to pulse until it is spreadable and combined.
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Makes Two Sandwiches
Four slices thick white or wheat bread (sourdough works well)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)
3/4 cups shredded Havarti cheese or six slices of fresh mozzarella
4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tablespoon softened butter
Heat skillet/pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread, making sure to cover the whole surface. Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto on the opposite side of two of the slices. On the remaining slices, spread a thin layer of mayo on the non-buttered side (this is optional, but you're already eating a super cheesy grilled cheese sandwich, so why not go all out and make sure it's the best grilled cheese sandwich?).
Place the two slices with the tomato spread buttered side down into the pan. Sprinkle on cheese generously. It's ok if some falls into the pan, it will sear into the outsides of the sandwich and make an even more delicious crust. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cook about 2-3 minutes, or until sides have turned golden brown. Flip the sandwiches and cook another 2-3 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.
*A tip for getting gooey melted grilled cheese sandwiches is to grate your own cheese and bring it to room temperature before adding it to the sandwich. I did not do that here, but I recommend it for amazing grilled cheeses.