Homemade Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, otherwise known as Pesto Rosso, is so much better than store-bought. A combination of good olive oil, fresh basil and real parmesan cheese will make the best results. Use it on pasta, fish, chicken, and as a sandwich spread too! Who could resist this delicious, vibrant sauce?
SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO
Have you ever had one of those nights when you arrive home from work and you’re just too tired to cook anything? But, you have to cook something. Because, you’re hungry, you’re tired of take out (or just can’t afford it), and you’ve got other mouths at your table to feed? No doubt then, you’ve often reached for store-bought, jarred pasta sauce. Am I right? Allow me to introduce you to my Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. It’s the answer you’ve been looking for!
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DINNER TIME DILEMA
We’ve all been there, Dear Reader, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! We can’t all be perfect and sometimes the ease of grabbing a jar of pre-made sauce is just what you need to help you keep your dinner-time sanity.
I don’t have a large family, so I really can’t complain about dinner-time madness around the kitchen table. It’s just me, and John.e, and McKenna – my two vegetarians. But, in comparison to let’s say, Margaret – my coworker, who has a family of six, she has a right to complain! And, that makes jarred pasta sauce tossed with cooked pasta the easy out; the go-to meal.
cannot shouldn’t be the only thing I make for dinner every night. But, if I’m in that state of mind where pasta is the only thing I can muster up, because of a long day at work or whatever the reason, I prefer to toss that pasta with pesto.
TASTE IS REALLY WHAT MATTERS
If you’re like me, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto can be eaten right from the jar with a spoon! Pre-making this super easy sauce will save you the hassle of having to go to the grocery store on your way home to pick up a jar, and you will not believe the difference in the taste!
I kid you not, there’s been times when we’ve had six jars of store-bought Sun Dried Tomato Pesto sauce in our pantry – for two reasons. The first reason, of course, is that we love that flavour. And the second reason is that Lord Byron loves to stock up on pantry items when they’re on sale!
You see, grabbing a jar of store-bought pesto, heating it through, and tossing it with some cooked pasta could not be easier on a weeknight, especially after a hard, busy day at the office, and having just a few minutes to spare before you head off to a 7:30pm social committee meeting, or a membership meeting. Yes, we are those people who volunteer on committees!
A FEW MINUTES NOW WILL SAVE YOU EXTRA MINUTES LATER
Taking a few minutes – yes, I said a few minutes – to make this pesto on the weekend, will find you much happier when you go to eat it. It’s a million times better than the kind you buy in the store. It’s fresh and simple, you get to control the amount of oil and salt.
And, because you live life on the edge and you’re not afraid to push the boundaries, you can add whatever you’d like to your homemade pesto – try adding chili flakes for some heat, add capers if you like the extra saltiness, load up on extra basil or even throw in some oregano! Be brave and fearless, Dear Reader!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – Get the jarred type; the ones packed in oil. The dried pouch kind are good for other things, but that flavoured oil goes a long way in this recipe.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is best in this recipe. Could you use garlic powder? Sure. But, fresh garlic has better flavour.
- Basil – Only fresh basil leaves will cut it. You need one cup of basil leaves. Remove the leaves from the stems.
- Parmesan – One whole cup of parmesan. Yes, it’s a lot, but you’re making a large amount of sauce. Use real parmesan, not the kind you find in a shaker can.
- Olive Oil – I used 1/4 cup, but you might use more or less depending on how thick you want your pesto.
- Salt and Pepper – Just a little salt, because the tomatoes and the cheese is already salty.
MAKING THE PESTO
Making this pesto really couldn’t be easier or faster. The food processor does all of the work for you! Layer the ingredients into your food processor as follows – basil leaves, garlic, sun dried tomatoes with the oil from the jar, salt, and black pepper.
Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. Pesto is not meant to be extra smooth, so don’t over process the ingredients. Remove the lid and add the parmesan cheese. Again, pulse a few times to blend through the cheese. Check the consistency. Add more olive oil if you’d like a more wet pesto. I always add 1/4 cup more, but you can add a tablespoon at a time until you get to your desired consistency.
Place in clean mason jars and store in the refrigerator until needed. Will last 7-10 days. When ready to use, simply heat the pesto in a sauce pan, and toss with freshly cooked pasta. Easy, right?
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COOKING PERFECT PASTA EVERY TIME!
Someone once told me that I prepare pasta like an old Italian grandma. That has stuck we me for so many years. You see, Dear Reader, I’m far from perfect, but cooking pasta is one thing I can certainly do perfectly. I don’t care what the back of the pasta package says, cook your pasta according to taste and texture. Ignore everything else. Here are my 4 steadfast rules. If you follow these, you’ll have the best tasting pasta possible!
Rule #1: Say no to oil!
Do you add oil to your pasta water before adding the pasta? Stop that right now! I don’t know who’s responsible for that, but I have seen some TV chefs do it! If you add oil to your pasta water, do you know what happens when you put the sauce on it? The sauce won’t stick as well as it should. It will slide off, because the oil prevents it from sticking.
Rule #2: Add extra salt!
Salt the water. I used to be so afraid of salting pasta water, because I thought it would be too salty to eat. Salting the water, before you add the pasta, is the only chance you get to season that pasta. Let the water come to full boil before adding your salt. The water should taste like the ocean.
Don’t dump the salt in; stir it in. Preventing the salt from settling at the bottom of your pot will keep your pot looking shiny and new. If you have pots with what looks like a tarnished or unpolished interior bottom, it’s because salt sat at the bottom of your pot.
Rule #3: Get that pasta moving about immediately!
Lastly, stir the pasta for a good minute when you first add it to the water. This helps to wash off some of the starch and prevents the pasta from sticking to the pot and to itself. I always pull out a piece of pasta 4 minutes before the package says it will be ready. Taste it. Chew it. It shouldn’t be completely soft. If it has a bit of bite left in the center, get it out of the water and drain it immediately. You can thank me later!
Rule #4: Do not rinse!
So many of us are tempting to rinse pasta under running water after it’s been drained. I think it comes from the notion that it gets rid of starch. Well, it does in a way. But, when pasta begins to cool off and dry a bit, it comes a little sticky. That stickiness soaks up pasta sauce, so don’t flush it out!
A quick drain is all you need. Get the pasta into a bowl or onto a plate. Get the sauce on it and serve it up. If you are one of those people that rinses pasta so that it doesn’t get sticky, hold off on cooking it until your sauce is ready. That way, it won’t have time to get stick before you plate it up!
Okay, this is getting a little long-winded, so I’ll go ahead and tie it all up now. When all is said and done, this is one of the best pasta and pesto combinations you’ll ever eat. It really is that good! If you have any leftovers, don’t worry. From the time you toss all of the ingredients together, you can refrigerate this dish for up to three days. Yes, it will certainly last that long in your fridge and still look and taste fresh! To reheat, toss in a warm skillet until warmed though, or simply pop it in the microwave for a minute or two!
If, however, the pesto is in a jar all on its own without having been tossed with cooked pasta, the pesto will last much longer. I have kept the pesto in a mason jar in my fridge for up to ten days! So make lots and enjoy in different ways over the next week or so!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 1/4 cups jarred sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, do not drain
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Layer the ingredients into your food processor as follows – basil leaves, garlic, sun dried tomatoes with the oil from the jar, salt, and black pepper.
- Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. Pesto is not meant to be extra smooth, so don’t over process the ingredients.
- Remove the lid and add the parmesan cheese.
- Again, pulse a few times to blend through the cheese. Check the consistency. Add more olive oil if you’d like a more wet pesto. I always add 1/4 cup more, but you can add a tablespoon at a time until you get to your desired consistency.
- Place in clean mason jars and store in the refrigerator until needed. Will last 7-10 days.
- When ready to use, simply heat the pesto in a sauce pan, and toss with freshly cooked pasta.
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