This is such a versatile pesto, and it lasts for at least a week (sometimes even two) in the fridge. Many pestos are made with just herbs, basil in particular, and they are green in color, but this one has a brick red color thanks to the sundried tomatoes, and a tangy, intense flavor that goes a long way.
This recipe used sundried tomatoes that were not packed in oil, but rather just barely dried (still fairly pliable and moist). If you use sundried tomatoes packed in oil you may not need to add any extra olive oil.
How to use this? In pasta (see below), and then leftovers are great in quesadillas, sandwiches (grilled cheese is particularly good), bruschetta and crostini, or blend it with sour cream for a piquant dip for raw vegetables.
- 1 pound dried short tubular pasta, such as mezze rigatoni or maltagliati
- 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, or canned diced tomatoes in their juice
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves roughly chopped garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and return to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the salt and pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil and puree until it forms a paste. Add more olive oil, if desired, to reach the desired consistency.
- Drain the pasta, first reserving about 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss the drained pasta with the cooking water and about half of the pesto. Taste, and add more pesto as desired for more flavor.
You can really get creative with your pestos! Here are some great combinations that go with all kinds of dishes.
- Caper-Olive Pesto - perfectly paired with pan seared fish and peppers
- Kale Pesto - folded in with goat cheese in this breakfast omelet
- Avocado Pesto - great as a dip and full of healthy fats
- Edamame Pesto Dip - serve with your favorite veggies and crackers
- Mint Basil Pesto - mix it into pasta, or serve on tomatoes for an simple side dish or appetizer
- Spinach Parsley Pesto - use it to top fish, chicken, or crostini
- Nut-Free Basil Pesto with Pecorino Romano - perfect for people with nut allergies!
Other classic pasta dishes to make are Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce, Pasta with Garlicky Meatballs and Tomato Sauce, and Baked Macaroni and Cheese. For just the sauces, check out this simple tomato sauce and quick bolognese sauce to top your favorite shaped pasta.