Until I started watching Food Network more and more I thought pesto was your basic basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese combo. I didn’t realize that you could make anything pesto. Spinach, arugula, red peppers, etc. While in London I saw that one of the vendors at Burough Market, who was selling various dips and sauces, was selling Red Pesto, which I was super intrigued by. It consisted of sun dried tomatoes, cashews, pecorino, etc.
After seeing this and coming home, I was inspired and decided that I was going to try to make it myself. I’ve made Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce before and thought that the sundried recipe was somewhat similar. Of course, I used what I had on hand. Instead of pecorino I used Parmesan. Instead of using cashews I used the pine nuts. Remember that’s the key to budgeting and cooking, inspiration of recipes and using what you have on hand and making it your own. 🙂
I made this recipe during lent and yes, I’m only sharing this it now. Instead of using regular pasta, I made it with Trader Joe’s tortellini. I made this dish on a Friday and I wanted to put more carbs in our meal since we didn’t eat meat all day. Feel free to make this with penne or fusili or any kind of pasta you’d like. I definitely bumped it up a notched by adding some cherry/grape tomatoes and spinach. I must say it was a success. YUM!
TORTELLINI with RED PESTO
1 package of Trader Joe’s refrigerated cheese Tortellini
1 jar of SunDried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
handful of basil leaves (you don’t want too many, as you’ll mask the tomato flavor)
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 lb of spinach
Cook Tortellini according to package instructions. Note: If you’re using the refrigerated pack, this should take probably 5 minutes. If you’re using dried it will take 10-15 minutes.
In a food processor, combined the sundried tomatoes with olive oil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, basil leaves. Start pulsing. Let the food processor go and start streaming olive oil in until its a desired consistency. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.
Prior to draining off the tortellini, reserve a cup of pasta water. Add the Tortellini back to the pot and pour in red pesto. If too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit. This also helps the pesto become more of a sauce consistency. Add in spinach. When the spinach is wilted, add cherry tomatoes.
Top with a little bit of parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.
Super easy and super delish!