This appetizer looks cool on the table and is tasty yet easy. Hard Italian bread sticks are wrapped in prosciutto and then dipped in a kicked up creamy pesto with lemon, basil and Parmesan cheese.
Grissinis, wrapped in prosciutto, look great on the appetizer table, paired with a delicious dip. For a fun presentation, you could serve the Prosciutto Grissinis standing up in a glass with the creamy pesto dip off to the side. It takes no time at all to wrap the bread sticks for dipping. I toasted them just for a few minutes in the oven to help the prosciutto kind of shrink around the breadsticks and to add a crispy texture to the meat (this step is optional). If you’re not a fan of prosciutto, you could use black forest ham or even roast beef. Just ask your deli to slice the meat super thin. Wrapping the sticks is easier if you cut the meat into 1-inch wide strips and wrap multiple strips of the meat until the bread is covered as far down as you want.
What are Italian Grissinis?
Itialian Grissinis are hard bread sticks that are easily sourced at any local grocer. Also known as grissini, grissino or dipping sticks, these pencil-sized sticks are crisp, dry baked bread that originated in Italy.
Ingredients for making Creamy Pesto Dip
Cream cheese – You could also use sour cream, Greek yogurt, or hummus
Basil pesto – Store bought or homemade
Pine nuts – Pine nuts are ground into most basil pestos and a few extra for the dip adds nice texture and added flavor
Lemon – Zest and juice is added to the dip
I wanted the creamy pesto dip to have lots of flavor but not be overpowering. Adding lemon juice and zest, as well as Parmesan, garlic, and extra pine nuts put the flavors over the top and the lemon makes for a super fresh taste. Prosciutto Wrapped Breadsticks with Creamy Pesto Dip is a great party appetizer or first course.
Change it up depending on your party theme. For a Mexican theme, use roast beef and switch out the basil pesto for chopped jalapeños. Use cheddar instead of Parmesan cheese and omit the pine nuts,. Use creamed avocados in place of the cream cheese and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Prosciutto wrapped Breadsticks with Creamy Pesto
- 20 slices prosciutto, sliced thin (about 1/4 pound)
- 4 ounces Grissini style traditional breadsticks about 20 breadsticks- one package
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp basil pesto, or more if desired
- 2 tbsps pine nuts, divided
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Juice and zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tbsps shredded Parmesan cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
For the Grissini Bread Sticks:
- Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
- Take the bread sticks out of the package. Leave whole for a fun presentation, or break in half if you want prosciutto to cover the entire stick.
- Cut the prosciutto into strips approximately 1 inch wide and wrap around the end of each grissini. Keep adding strips until bread stick is covered as much as you want.
- Place prosciutto-wrapped sticks on baking sheet and heat just enough to shrink up the meat so it adheres to the bread stick and crisps the edges of prosciutto a bit. Only heat them for about 5 minutes. Watch the bread sticks so they don't start to burn. If making the grissinis ahead of time, bake them first, refrigerate until about 20 minutes before serving. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Do not reheat them in the oven or they will become soft under the prosciutto and will fold over like a bunch of dead flowers.
- Cook's note: The baking step is optional but if you have a few minutes to do it, it adds just a nice crisp edge to the prosciutto.
For the Creamy Pesto:
- Mix the cream cheese and basil pesto in a small bowl. Finely chop 1 tablespoon pine nuts and add to mixture. Zest the lemon into the other ingredients, then juice and stir that in as well. Add shredded Parmesan. Taste and add more pesto, lemon juice or Parmesan to your liking.
- Spoon creamy pesto into serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle remaining pine nuts on top. The creamy pesto can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to allow dip to soften again before serving.
- Any favorite deli meat can be used for this recipe; roast beef or ham are great options.
- make this a vegetarian appetizer and replace the deli meat with strips of Swiss cheese, or other semi-hard cheese that slices well.