This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta is to die for! Super simple to make, yet elegant enough to feel like a date night meal, it’s the perfect recipe to have on hand. It’s made with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto and it’s creamy, indulgent and uses only all natural ingredients. You can use this as a base to add protein like beans or chicken, goat cheese or feta cheese or pine nuts.
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SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA
Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients to use, especially in a pasta dish.
You might have seen the dish I shared a few days ago for Chicken Bryan which also uses sun-dried tomatoes.
In todays Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta dish I used the sun-dried tomatoes to create a savory, rich flavorful sauce.
This dish appears regularly in my family meal plans because it is such an easy recipe to make but also a healthy dinner option.
It works as a nice base to add other things in like chicken, Italian sausage, beans, goat or feta cheese or pine nuts.
It also tastes great on its own as is and the best part is that it can be on the table in under 15 minutes. Perfect for a busy weeknight.
I usually make a large batch and refrigerate it and then use it during the week as a sandwich spread, a dip or I scoop some on a salad.
If you like sun-dried tomatoes you have to also try my Spinach Artichoke Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Bites, Sun-dried Tomato Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta which has the best creamy sauce.
SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO INGREDIENTS
- TOMATOES: I use 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes which makes enough pesto to feed 4 people.
- GARLIC: When making pesto I always use fresh garlic, rather than pre-pureed garlic, as it has the best flavor.
- HERBS: Tomatoes pair beautifully with fresh basil leaves. I use a good 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil for this recipe.
- CHEESE: Use a good quality, strong Parmesan cheese in this sun-dried tomato pesto for the best flavor.
- OIL: For the best flavor I always use extra virgin olive oil in the marinade to add rich, robust flavor.
- SEASONING: I season the pesto with salt and black pepper.
- PASTA: You can use any variety or shape of dried pasta. I tend to like small or medium sized pasta in this dish.
RECIPE TIPS & MODIFICATIONS
- FRESH HERBS: I’ve used basil leaves, but fresh parsley would work too.
- GREENS: You could add in arugula or fresh baby spinach to the pasta when it is mixing with the pesto over low heat to wilt the greens.
- PINE NUTS: Add some pine nuts to the pesto if you wish.
- CHEESE: You can serve the pasta with burrata cheese, goat cheese or feta cheese on top to elevate it.
- PROTEIN: If you are looking to add some protein to your meal, you can also add some grilled chicken breast on top, as chicken with sun-dried tomato pesto is delicious. Other options could include salmon, shrimp, steak, sausage, chickpeas or white beans.
- SAVE SOME PASTA COOKING WATER: Save some of the pasta water to add to the sauce, as it is perfect for thinning the sauce and helping it to stick to the pasta. You can also use chicken broth. If you want to thicken the sauce more you can use tomato paste.
- BATCH COOKING: Sun-dried tomato pesto is a great sauce for batch preparation. Double or treble the recipe, enjoy some now and store the rest for a quick and easy meal another day.
- HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS: Store leftover pesto in the refrigerator in a jar or other airtight container for up to 7 days.
- HOW TO FREEZE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- SPICE IT UP: Try spicing this pasta dish up with crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne red pepper.
- WHITE WINE: Try adding a dash of white wine to the pesto to add a touch of acidity. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice for acidity.
HOW TO MAKE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA
COOK THE PASTA. Start by cooking the pasta for one minute less than the packing directions instruct to al dente.
Drain the water but reserve 4 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water for adding to the sauce later.
PREPARE THE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO. While the penne pasta or shell pasta is cooking, prepare the sun-dried tomato pesto.
FINISH THE SAUCE. Now add the pesto to the cooked pasta and drizzle with the reserved cooking water.
Continue to cook over a medium heat until the pasta sauce thickens and is completely coated with the pesto.
SERVE THE PASTA. Place the pasta into bowls and garnish with extra fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
OTHER SUN-DRIED TOMATO RECIPES FOR YOU TO ENJOY:
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups basil leaves
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 1/2 cups pasta, dried
- Extra basil for garnish
- Fresh Parmesan cheese for serving
- Cook the pasta for one minute less than the packing directions instruct. Drain the water but reserve 4 tbsps. cooking water for the sauce.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sun dried tomato pesto. In a food processor add the sun dried tomatoes, garlic cloves, basil, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Pulse for around 1 minute or until you have a thick paste.
With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil. The mixture should be smooth.
- Add the pesto to the cooked pasta and drizzle with the reserved cooking water.
- Cook over medium heat until the pasta sauce thickens and is completely coated with the pesto.
- Garnish with extra fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
The pesto is honestly delicious with pretty much anything else you can think of. I usually make a large batch and refrigerate it and then use it during the week as a sandwich spread, dip and with salads.
You can also serve the pasta with burrata cheese, goat cheese or feta cheese on top to elevate it.
If you are looking to add some protein to your meal, you can also add some grilled chicken on top.
Other protein options would be salmon, shrimp, steak, sausage, chickpeas or white beans.