Five pesto dishes perfect for summer and found at these Pittsburgh restaurants | Pittsburgh City Paper

Five pesto dishes perfect for summer and found at these Pittsburgh restaurants

click to enlarge Five pesto dishes perfect for summer and found at these Pittsburgh restaurants
stock image of pesto pasta
One scene from Disney and Pixar's most recent film Luca has ignited a bit of a social media storm of people craving pesto. The father in the animated film cooks his famous ‘Trenette al Pesto’ — a creamy basil-based pesto blanketing trenette pasta, topped with green beans and sliced potato — and social media users recently have been filming themselves cooking their own versions of the pesto pasta dish.

And the trend came at perfect timing, as this summer in Pittsburgh has been hot, and herbaceous and flavorful pesto is a great warm-weather dinner — whether it's made from the classic combo of basil, pine nuts, and olive oil, or some other seasonal ingredient.

For those searching for their own perfect pesto, Pittsburgh City Paper has found five local restaurants that serve some of the best and most unique pesto dishes in the region.

Gnocchi with mint pesto — Vallozzi’s

220 5th Ave., Downtown.

Vallozzi’s potato-based gnocchi takes a cooling twist to usual pesto with the incorporation of fresh mint, which pairs perfectly with the lamb ragu that is incorporated in the dish. The pesto is finished with cooked vegetables including red onion, tomato, and fennel.

Savory pesto crepes — Cafe Moulin

732 Filbert St., Shadyside.

Crepes don’t always have to be sweet treats, and Cafe Moulin offers various versions of the French staple, including pesto-filled crepes. Moulin serves a dish called “Tivoli,” which is a pizza transformed into a crepe and stuffed with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and fresh pesto. If that doesn’t pique your taste buds, they also offer an “Alaska” crepe filled with smoked salmon, herb cream, spinach, and pesto.

Linguine pesto — Il Pizzaiolo

703 Washington Rd., Mt. Lebanon.

Il Pizzaiolo serves the classic green pesto pasta with sauce based with fresh basil and roasted pine nuts topped with roasted tomatoes and grated parmigiano. The dish features a thick linguine pasta for the perfect sauce to noodle ratio in every bite.

Pesto pizza — Proper Brick Oven & Taproom

139 7th St., Downtown.

Rather than blanketing basil and pine nut pesto on pasta, Proper Brick Oven uses the sauce as a base for their wood fired pizza. The pie is topped with ingredients that compliment each other for an explosion of flavor like oven-roasted roma tomatoes, wood-smoked pork belly bacon, caramelized red onion, fresh mozzarella, and parmigiano.

Pesto handhelds — Shady Grove

5500 Walnut St., Shadyside.

Sandwich or wrap, meat or veggies, Shady Grove makes the perfect handheld pesto dish for all. Shady Grove lists the option of roasted turkey, chicken, or portobello mushrooms for the base of their pesto wrap or sandwich, whichever you prefer. It’s then piled with sliced tomato, mixed greens, and tangy goat cheese and all paired with creamy pesto.