Your pasta dishes just got an upgrade with this flavourful Pesto Rosso aka the fancy Italian way of saying Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. It’s vibrant, easy to make and so good, you’ll want to use it on more than just pasta!
Guys. I have a problem. I’m dating a man who, for the last 7 years, has proclaimed his hatred for all things pesto. I know, right?! What’s worse? That so called “hatred” suddenly gets up and walks away when I make a fresh batch and serve it to him (which is extremely rare as I thought it was forbidden… *rolls eyes*). Whether that be traditional Basil Pesto or this Pesto Rosso made from Sun-Dried Tomatoes, it’s like he suddenly forgets that he ever claimed to hate the thing. I mean, I guess I can’t blame him. This stuff is super flavourful and will make you feel like you’re dining out at a fine Italian restaurant.
Pesto Rosso (literally “Red Pesto”) may sound fancy (and can be if you throw in some classic Italian hand gestures and an accent into the mix) but with no cooking required to actually make the thing, it really couldn’t get any easier. It’s made with a few fresh and simple ingredients. And, all you need is a high speed blender or food processor to get the job done. It’s great for gift giving, is a sure crowd impressor and something I love to have hanging around the fridge for quick and easy dinners (that still make me feel pretty badass, of course).
If you have a pesto hater in your life, too, then this might be the recipe to convert them. Truuuuust me. It works like a charm every. single. time. 😉
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PESTO ROSSO
Six basic ingredients and a few spices are all you’re going to need to make this deliciously flavourful Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Oh, and a high speed blender or food processor which you pretty much can’t get on without unless you want to finnnnnely chop the ingredients up yourself (which I don’t recommend!). Let’s talk about the ingredients in a little more detail down below:
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Well, DUH! The star of the show. Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil work best in this recipe as they’re already hydrated and somewhat seasoned. They’re readily available at just about any grocery store. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous feel free to try my family recipe for making your own sun-dried tomatoes from scratch at home!
- Basil: Adds flavour, freshness and some Earthy-ness to the dish. I mean, isn’t it frowned upon to not include at least some fresh basil in an Italian style pasta sauce?! Fresh works best in this recipe as it brings an insanely delicious flavour to any dish that dry basil just can’t replicate. On that note, though, you can sub out the basil and replace it with another green of choice, if you prefer. Kale, spinach, parsley and arugula are all great options.
- Garlic: Adds flavour and freshness. And again, this is an Italian dish so do I really need to explain why garlic is a mandatory part of this recipe for Pesto Rosso?!
- Walnuts: Adds texture and makes the sun-dried tomato pesto thick and smooooth. I used walnuts but you can make pesto with all sorts of different nuts. Traditionally, pine nuts are the most popular selection for green (basil) pesto and almonds for red pesto. However, you can use anything from pistachios and cashews to even pumpkin seeds. Try toasting the nuts for a few minutes on a stove top to add some extra flavour.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a sharp, rich and cheesy flavour to the Pesto Rosso. Freshly grated will give you the best results as it will provide the maximum flavour.
- Olive Oil: Adds flavour and helps to smooth and thin out the pesto creating a creamy, rich consistency. We drizzle it into the food processor slowly, for best results. As always good quality and extra virgin is best. Although Olive Oil is definitely the best oil to use for pesto IMHO (and in several other people’s opinion strewn all over the internet), you can always use a different oil instead, if you prefer. Just try to keep it neutral tasting, such as avocado oil.
- Spices: A simple blend of salt, pepper and chili flakes is all you need to season this Pesto Rosso as there is a ton of flavour already coming from the other ingredients. The chili flakes are for a little kick but you can omit them, if you prefer.
HOW TO MAKE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO (KEY TIPS)
- Use fresh good quality ingredients to make your pesto rosso. There isn’t much that goes into this flavourful pesto. So, all the ingredients will shine through and you’ll definitely taste the difference between using good quality stuff and not.
- Definitely use fresh basil and not dried as they’re most certainly not interchangeable in this recipe. However, on that note, you can replace the basil altogether and use another herb or green instead, if you prefer (i.e. fresh parsley, arugula, spinach, kale….)
- No need to spend time chopping your ingredients… that’s what the food processor or blender is for! Just throw ’em all in as is and let the sharp blades take care of the rest.
- On that note, use a food processor or blender! You really don’t want to try and free hand this one (lol). The amount of time it saves and the way you can control how chunky you want your pesto is reason enough alone!
- Blend all the ingredients together first without the olive oil. Then, slowly drizzle it in through the feed chute while the food processor is still on. This will smooth out the pesto and give it the texture you’re looking for.
- If you notice the pesto losing some freshness or drying up as it sits in the fridge, add a layer or drizzle of olive oil to the top. Simply stir it to combine well before using.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Pesto Rosso is just the Italian way of saying sun-dried tomato pesto and literally means “Red Pesto”. Therefore, it’s made with sun-dried tomatoes as the base (use this recipe to try making your own at home!) and other typical pesto ingredients. You’ll traditionally find garlic, some type of nut, basil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil in the mix.
While the most obvious and undoubtedly delicious way to enjoy red pesto is on pasta, there are SO many other ways to enjoy this stuff! It’s great on scrambled eggs, as a base for pizza, as part of a salad dressing, dip or marinade, use it as a spread for sandwiches or burgers, throw it on top of some spaghetti squash, swirl it into soups such as this Italian Wedding Soup or slather it on top of a piece of homemade bread. I mean, the options are seriously endless!
Since this pesto is made from fresh ingredients, it’s best if consumed within one week. Store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. RECIPE NOTE: The oil in the pesto might harden and stiffen up a bit as it sits in the fridge. Simply bring it back to room temperature before serving and it’ll return to its regular state.
You can also freeze this pesto rosso and it’ll be good for up to 3 months. PRO TIP: Spoon it into an ice cube tray so it’ll freeze into individual portions and you can just take out exactly what you need at any given time. Simply allow it to freeze in the tray and then, once frozen, pop them out and transfer the cubes to a ziploc bag and store.
When ready to use, simply thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours. If you’re planning to add it to soups or sauce, just throw it right in frozen and it won’t have a problem dissolving quickly on it’s own.
- 8 oz. Sun-Dried Tomatoes (packed in oil)*
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 cup Fresh Basil
- 1/2 cup Walnuts
- 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes, optional
- Add all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Process until all the ingredients are finely chopped, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Slowly drizzle the olive oil in through the feed chute while the food processor is still on, until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer to a airtight container or mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Try making your own Sun-Dried Tomatoes at home using my family's famous recipe!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2323Total Fat: 177gSaturated Fat: 34gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 132gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 3215mgCarbohydrates: 152gFiber: 32gSugar: 87gProtein: 70g
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