What Is Pesto Udon?

Girl eating pesto udon noodles with chopsticks

Short answer
Pesto udon is a fusion dish that combines Japanese udon noodles with Italian pesto sauce.

Long answer
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Italian pasta and Asian noodles are interchangeable, especially wheat flour noodles like udon, which contain almost identical ingredients to egg pasta. As it turns out, though, the production method and thickness of the strands mean the texture and therefore the entire eating experience are completely different.

Italian pasta is the undisputed champion when it comes to the variety of shapes, but Asian noodles win hands down when it comes to the variety of textures. Al dente is the only way most Italians will serve their pasta, so pairing pesto with silky-soft udon noodles doesn't have many fans in Italy.

Luckily, though, pesto udon can be found served in many Japanese-Italian fusion restaurants and can also be easily made at home with store-bought or homemade pesto sauce and udon noodles. We don't think it's better or worse than regular pesto pasta; it's just different.

To make pesto udon, cook the noodles until tender and toss with a generous amount of pesto sauce. Serve as is or introduce additional ingredients such as grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, or roasted vegetables.