Pesto rosso, also known as sun-dried tomato pesto, or red pesto, is wildly delicious. Luckily for us, it's also wildly easy. It's perfect for whipping up a quick pasta dish on a weeknight. All you need to do is cook your pasta, toss the noodles in the sauce, and you're good to go.
Pesto rosso is a popular condiment in Italian cuisine and is loved for its bold, savory flavors and rich red color. It's a versatile sauce that can add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, and it's a great addition to any home cook's repertoire.
Pesto rosso is a luscious Italian sauce boasting tangy notes from sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, parmesan, nuts, and olive oil. Its bold flavor elevates pasta, veggies, and more, making it a beloved condiment for discerning foodies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pesto rosso is a variation of pesto sauce made with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, nuts, cheese, and olive oil.
Pesto rosso can be used as a spread, pasta sauce, or marinade. It's also great in dips and dressings.
Sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, nuts (such as pine nuts or almonds), cheese, and olive oil.
Pesto rosso has sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers, giving it a tangy flavor and red color, while regular pesto has fresh basil.
Yes, you can customize pesto rosso by using alternative nuts or omitting cheese to suit dietary preferences or restrictions.
Pesto rosso can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days in an airtight container.
Yes, you can freeze pesto rosso in small portions for later use. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- The tangy flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers burst in your mouth, adding a delightful twist to your dishes.
- The rich and luscious texture, created by the blend of Parmesan, nuts, and olive oil, adds a luxurious touch to any dish.
- Whether used as a sauce, spread, or marinade, this pesto rosso enhances pasta, bread, meats, and veggies with its bold and complex flavors.
- Making it is a breeze with a food processor and simple ingredients, perfect for busy home cooks.
- With the ability to store it for up to a week, sauce offers convenience and versatility for meal planning and prep.
- Elevate your everyday dishes with this unique twist on traditional pesto, impressing your guests and tantalizing your taste buds.
- The striking red color and savory depth of flavors in this pesto rosso make it a standout condiment that will elevate your culinary creations.
What is Pesto Rosso?
This condiment originated in Italy and is a variation of the classic. It's known for its vibrant red color and bold, tangy flavors. Traditionally, it's made by blending sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, nuts (such as pine nuts or almonds), parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. The result is a thick and flavorful sauce that can be used as a spread, pasta sauce, or marinade.
Pesto rosso has gained popularity in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine for its unique and versatile profile, adding a burst of tangy sweetness to a variety of dishes.
What's the Difference Between This and Regular Pesto?
Both of these pestos are made in a similar way, but with different main ingredients. The biggest one being that basil is substituted for sun-dried tomatoes in pesto rosso. Here are some more differences:
- Pesto rosso boasts a red color and tangy taste from sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers.
- Regular pesto features fresh basil, pine nuts, and has a more herbaceous flavor profile.
- Pesto rosso has a sweeter, tangier taste and a thicker texture.
- Traditional pesto is green from basil and typically has a smoother texture.
- Pesto rosso complements pasta, meats, and veggies with its unique flavors.
- Both pesto rosso and regular pesto are versatile and delicious in their own distinct ways.
We're still using pine nuts and fresh basil in this recipe to balance out some of the big flavors from the tomatoes and the roasted red peppers. But you can switch it up if you want!
Sun-dried tomatoes - Adds a tangy, sweet, and intense tomato flavor, providing the base.
Roasted red peppers - Provides a smoky, slightly sweet, and tangy taste, adding depth and complexity to the sauce.
Garlic - Enhances the overall flavor with its pungency and adds a hint of spiciness.
Pine nuts - Contributes a rich, buttery texture and a nutty flavor, complementing the other ingredients.
Parmesan cheese - Adds a savory and salty note, while also providing a creamy texture.
Fresh basil - Adds a fresh, herbaceous aroma and flavor, balancing the tanginess of the sun-dried tomatoes.
Olive oil - Binds the ingredients together, adds richness, and brings all the flavors together.
Salt - Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and balances the overall taste.
Pepper - Adds a touch of warmth and depth.
How to Make Pesto Rosso
First, you'll need some sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. First, gather all your ingredients and have them ready.
Then, start by combining sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil in a food processor or blender.
Pulse or blend until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
Next, add to olive oil, and blend until the pesto rosso reaches your desired consistency.
Season with a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, and give it a taste to adjust the seasoning if needed.
That's it! It's now ready to be used as a delicious sauce or spread to add a burst of flavor to pasta, sandwiches, roasted vegetables, or other culinary creations.
Mediterranean Twist: Add Kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and a touch of balsamic vinegar to the basic pesto rosso recipe for a Mediterranean twist. This adds briny and tangy flavors to the sauce.
Vegan: Replace the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese for a dairy-free and vegan-friendly pesto rosso. This option is perfect for those who are lactose intolerant or follow a plant-based diet.
Spicy: Add red pepper flakes or a fresh chili pepper to the pesto rosso recipe for an extra kick of heat. Adjust the amount according to your spice preference to create a spicy version of the sauce.
Nutty: Swap pine nuts with other nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews to create a different nutty flavor profile. Toast the nuts for added depth and crunch.
Roasted Vegetable: Roast additional vegetables like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or eggplant before blending them with the other ingredients for a roasted vegetable twist to the pesto rosso. This adds a smoky and charred flavor to the sauce.
Lemon Basil: Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest to the pesto rosso for a bright, tangy version. This adds a burst of freshness and acidity to the sauce.
Use high-quality ingredients: Fresh basil, good quality sun-dried tomatoes, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
Toast the pine nuts: Toasting pine nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes until lightly golden adds a delicious nutty flavor to the pesto.
Soak sun-dried tomatoes for maximum flavor: Soaking sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for a short time before blending them helps to soften and rehydrate them, resulting in a smoother and more flavorful pesto.
Adjust seasoning to taste: Taste the pesto as you go and adjust the salt, pepper, and other seasonings according to your preference to achieve a perfectly balanced flavor.
Control the consistency: Add olive oil gradually while blending to control the consistency of the pesto. Add more for a thinner pesto or less for a thicker, more spreadable pesto.
Store properly: Transfer the pesto to a clean, airtight container, and cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent browning. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.
Get creative with variations: Experiment with different variations, such as adding roasted garlic, sundried tomato oil, or red pepper flakes, to customize the pesto rosso to your liking. See above for more suggestions!
How to Use it
Red pesto is so versatile; there are almost endless ways to use it. Here are a few quick ideas if you need some inspiration!
Pasta: Toss cooked pasta with pesto rosso for a quick and delicious pasta dish. Add some cherry tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil for added flavor.
Crostini: Spread pesto rosso on toasted baguette slices and top with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and a sprinkle of black pepper for a tasty appetizer or snack.
Pizza: Use pesto rosso as a flavorful pizza sauce and top with your favorite toppings, such as grilled vegetables, sliced olives, or crumbled feta cheese.
Stuffed Chicken Breast: Butterfly chicken breasts and spread pesto rosso inside. Roll up and secure with toothpicks, then bake until cooked through for a flavorful and juicy chicken dish.
Bruschetta: Spread pesto rosso on toasted bread slices and top with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a delicious and colorful bruschetta appetizer.
Veggie Dip: Mix pesto rosso with Greek yogurt or sour cream for a tasty and tangy vegetable dip. Perfect for parties or gatherings.
Marinade: Use pesto rosso as a marinade for grilled vegetables, seafood, or meats to infuse them with its rich flavors before cooking.
Quinoa Salad: Toss cooked quinoa with pesto rosso, roasted vegetables, toasted pine nuts, and crumbled goat cheese for a hearty and flavorful salad.
Panini: Spread pesto rosso on bread slices and layer with deli meats, cheese, and vegetables, then grill or press for a delicious and melty panini sandwich.
Potato Salad: Mix pesto rosso with boiled and diced potatoes, cherry tomatoes, diced red onions, and fresh basil for a unique twist on traditional potato salad.
As always, remember that wine pairing is subjective. If you like it and feel like it's a good match, then absolutely go for it. These are just some suggestions to get you started!
Sangiovese: This Italian red wine, with its bright acidity and cherry notes, pairs well with its richness.
Pinot Noir: A light-bodied red wine with delicate flavors of red berries and earthy notes can be a great match, allowing the sauce to shine without overpowering it.
Sauvignon Blanc: A crisp and refreshing white wine with its citrusy and herbal notes can contrast the sauce, balancing the flavors and refreshing the palate.
Vermentino: This Italian white wine, with its bright acidity, tropical fruit notes, and herbaceous undertones, can complement the flavors and add a refreshing contrast.
Chardonnay: A full-bodied white wine with its creamy texture and flavors of butter and oak can be a good match, especially if the sauce has a generous amount of Parmesan cheese, as the wine can complement the umami flavors.
More Sauces and Condiments
Pesto Rosso (Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto)
- Food processor
- ½ C sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ C roasted red peppers
- ½ C fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ C parmesan cheese grated
- ¼ C pine nuts or almonds
- ¼ C olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- In a food processor, combine sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, Parmesan, basil and pine nuts or almonds. Pulse until roughly chopped.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pulse to combine.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.