16 ratings

Arugula, Walnut Pesto, and Pancetta Grilled Cheese

A fresh pesto makes all the difference

Salty, herbaceous homemade pesto boosts the humble grilled cheese to unknown heights of deliciousness.

This recipe is courtesy of Cello Cheese.


For the Arugula Pesto:

  • 1/2 Cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 Cups arugula
  • 1/2 Cup grated Grana Padano Cheese, preferably Cello
  • 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sandwiches:

  • 8 slices crusty bread
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 thin slices pancetta
  • 1/2 Mauri Taleggio cheese, room temperature, rind removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 16 thin slices Fontal cheese, preferably Cello, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup arugula pesto


For the Arugula Pesto:

Combine the walnuts, roasted garlic, arugula and cheese in a small food processor or blender. Blend for 1 1/2 minutes.

Drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Blend for another 60–90 seconds until a smooth paste forms.

Taste, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

For the sandwiches:

In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta over medium high heat until the pancetta is crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

Spread one side of each slice with softened butter.

On the opposite side, spread each slice with a thin layer of pesto.

Top with 2 slices of the fontal cheese and then layer on enough Taleggio to cover the bread. Top with another 2 slices of Fontal cheese. Place a slice of bread on top, pesto side down.

Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees F or a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the sandwiches and cook for 3–4 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt.

Carefully turn the sandwiches and cook for another 3– 4 minutes until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.