Red pesto pasta, made from scratch. It’s easy, only takes a few minutes to make and is a firm family favourite. It is simply delicious. 

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A bowl of red pesto pasta topped with shredded basil.

If your family is anything like mine pesto pasta is your fall back recipe. When it’s all a bit much, or you can’t be bothered to think, pesto pasta comes to the rescue. Everyone will eat it, their tummies will  be full, job done. 

In my kitchen it is red pesto pasta which is the superhero. Richly flavoured with sun dried tomatoes, garlic and basil it makes its way on to my table almost every week. 

For a long time I turned to a ready made jar from the supermarket. Then I realised how much salt is contained in those unassuming jars and just how easy it was to make my own! 

A jar of homemade red pesto.

How To Make Your Own Red Pesto

Making your own red pesto from scratch means you have total control over the flavourings and salt content

This sundried tomato pesto contains only four ingredients plus salt and pepper. Make a batch, pop it in the fridge and you have sauce for sun dried tomato pesto pasta at your fingertips. 

I use jarred sundried tomatoes in oil. The oil carries lots of flavour from the tomatoes as well as the herbs and garlic they’ve been preserved in so I add this to my pesto too!

If you want to go even further with the domestic goddess bit, you can make your own sun dried tomatoes!

To make your own sundried tomato pesto you will need:

  • Sun dried tomatoes in oil. If you are using the dried tomatoes in a packet you will need to rehydrate them before using them. 
  • Fresh garlic. I use two large cloves in mine but adjust the amount to your own taste.
  • Almonds. Shelled, unsalted and still in their brown jackets. You can replace almonds with pine nuts, hazelnuts or brazil nuts but I think almonds give the best taste and texture for a good red pesto. 
  • Fresh basil, lots of it! I’ve provided measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this post but, basically, you need a great big handful, stalks and all!
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Add a little at the end, taste it and add more if needed. 

 

To make your own red pesto simply:

  • Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan or a low oven for a few minutes, allow to cool.
  • Lift the tomatoes from the oil and allow the oil to drain back into the jar.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes and garlic and pop them into a food processor.
  • Add the cooled almonds and a big handful of basil, stalks and all.
  • Blitz in the food processor until chopped.
  • Add oil slowly until you have the texture you like. Stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper as required. Blitz to combine.

I love that, with this recipe, I have complete control over salt and oil content and can create a pesto full of flavour and texture – perfect for pasta!

A jar of sundried tomato pesto surrounded by the ingredients to make it.

 

How To Make Red Pesto Pasta

Quite simply…stir red pesto into cooked pasta and eat it! 

I’ve used fusilli pasta here. That fabulous corkscrew shape holds the pesto perfectly. Just look at it snuggling in there.

Red pesto pasta on a bed of spinach served in a Emma Bridgewater bowl.

Red pesto pasta works both as a hot dish and a cold pasta salad so it is perfect for lunchboxes, picnics and quick dinners.

If you are serving it hot simply cook the pasta according to packet instructions and drain.

Return the pasta to the pan and stir through a generous dollop of pesto. 

Serve it on top of a bed of fresh spinach leaves and topped with a chiffonade of basil.

Chiffonade is a simple knife technique which is particularly useful for a final flourish with leafy herbs! Simply stack your basil leaves, roll them into a cigar and slice thinly. When you let go you’ll have a handful of long, delicate strips to make your dish look all fancy pants!

Chiffonade basil on top of red pesto pasta.

If you are serving your red pesto pasta cold cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and then rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove all heat and starch. This stops it from sticking together in clumps. No one wants a clumpy salad!

Add a generous dollop of pesto to the cooled pasta and stir through gently until all the pasta is coated in sauce.

Eat straight away or refrigerate until needed. This will last for three or four days, covered, in the fridge. 

Red pesto pasta on a bed of fresh spinach leaves, a jar of homemade red pesto and a jar of sundried tomatoes in the background.

How To Store Pesto

This recipe makes enough pesto for six to eight generous servings of red pesto pasta.

If you are not using it all straight away it will keep well in the fridge for a week.

You may need to top it with a little more oil to stop the top from drying out. 

What Else To Make With Leftover Pesto

You can add red pesto to lots of dishes for a burst of flavour.

Stir it through rice for a delicious paella or risotto.

Add it to stock for a richly flavoured soup or stew

Try adding it to:

Red pesto pasta on a bed of spinach served in a Emma Bridgewater bowl.

Red Pesto Pasta

Nothing is simpler than red pesto pasta! Making your own sun dried tomato pesto lifts it to another level. Simple to make and on your table in 20 minutes.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: red pesto pasta, sundried tomato pesto
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 445kcal

Ingredients

For the Sun Dried Tomato Red Pesto

  • 150 g sun dried tomatoes in oil drain, reserving the oil
  • 50 g almonds unsalted
  • 2 cloves garlic or to taste
  • 25 g basil
  • 80 ml oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper more to taste

For the Pasta

  • 600 g fusilli pasta this allows 75g pasta per person
  • a large pan of boiling water

Instructions

To Make The Sun Dried Tomato Red pesto

  • Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes or in the oven at 170C/340F for 8 minutes, allow to cool.
  • Lift the tomatoes from the oil and allow the oil to drain back into the jar.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes and garlic and pop them into a food processor.
  • Add the cooled almonds and a big handful of basil, stalks and all.
  • Blitz in the food processor until chopped.
  • Add oil slowly until you have the texture you like. You may need a little more. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl a couple of times.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper as required. Blitz to combine.

To Make Red Pesto Pasta

  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions.
  • Drain thoroughly.
  • Stir a generous amount of red pesto through the pasta to coat.
  • Serve.

Notes

Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.
For further tips and tricks, storage instructions and recipe suggestions please see the post above this recipe card. 

Nutrition

Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 514mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
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