Red Pesto Pasta is a fast and easy weeknight dinner or side dish loaded down with flavor. Who knew that simple ingredients could make a meal taste this good? Forget takeout and make your own Italian dinner right at home.
We're pasta fans. Not only is pasta hearty and filling, but it's just a great recipe that hits all the flavor notes quickly. When we're needing a fast dinner, this tomato pesto pasta never lets us down.
The ingredients to make the pesto are simple but flavorful - which is always going to be a winning combination in my book. All that is left after the meal is cooked is to add a tad bit of parmesan cheese to the top and some chili pepper flakes for those of you who like the heat!
Speaking of delicious pasta recipes, be sure to check out my Smoked Lasagna recipe as well. It tastes like your traditional lasagna recipe with a nice smoky flavor.
Sundried tomatoes - I buy these at the store in a jar but you can make your own and use them as well.
Almonds - Perfect for adding protein and texture to the pesto sauce. Just be sure that you don't blend them in the food processor too much or it will start to form a paste.
Garlic - You can use minced garlic or fresh garlic cloves that you mince up yourself.
Parmesan cheese - Parmesan cheese is the perfect addition because of the added salt flavor.
Basil - Fresh basil leaves add a ton of delicious taste.
Olive oil - Extra virgin olive oil is added to help add a liquid consistency when making the pesto sauce. You can sub in light olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
Salt - Just a little bit for flavor.
Orzo pasta - Cook to your liking and follow the directions on the box for the perfect cooking times.
How To Make Red Pesto Pasta
The directions to make this simple pesto and pasta recipe are fast and easy. Just gather up the ingredients that you need before getting started.
To make the red pesto:
Step One: Combine sundried tomatoes, almonds, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Step Two: Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.
You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
To make the Red Pesto Pasta:
Step One: In a medium-large pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. Add the orzo. Cook for 7 minutes, or until al dente.
Step Two: Toss half the pesto with hot cooked pasta. Add more, if desired. Store any leftover pesto in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in a container with a lid.
Change up the pasta - You can easily make this pasta recipe with any type of pasta. Penne pasta, rigatoni, farfalle, or even macaroni noodles would all work great in this pasta dish.
Add nuts - Crushing up nuts and adding them on top are really great for texture. You can use walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts - anything you'd like.
Mix in some red bell peppers - When you're combining the ingredients, add in a few bell peppers for added flavor and color.
Kick up the heat - This red pesto recipe can be made super spicy if you'd like! Add some red pepper flakes to your serving.
Add fresh basil - Put some fresh basil into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients for a pop of extra flavor.
Cheese - Cubes of feta or fresh mozzarella are a nice addition to the red pesto pasta.
Vegan - For a vegan option swap out the cheese for nutritional yeast.
Try a different pesto - We love using our Feta Pesto in place of the red sauce.
Can you use leftover pasta water for anything?
Actually, you can! Using the leftover water that you cooked the pasta in makes homemade bread recipes and pizza dough recipes really delicious.
What is the best way to store sun-dried tomato pesto?
Once you make this gluten-free pesto, you're going to want to store it in an airtight container or mason jar with a lid. It should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
You may want to give it a stir before using it next time in case any of the ingredients have settled. Sometimes the oil can separate a tad bit so giving it a good stir will help.
Can you freeze fresh pesto sauce?
Absolutely! There are many ways that you can freeze it but one way to freeze it in serving sizes is to add the mixture to an ice cube tray. You can then pop it out and use it for a bowl of pasta whenever the craving hits. Just clear a space in your freezer and enjoy.
How else can I use red pesto?
Red pesto is very versatile. I recommend making extra while you have the food processor out so you can try it in any or all of these options.
Breakfast: You can mix it into cream cheese and use it on bagels or blend it into eggs for amazing scrambled eggs or as a base for a quiche.
Lunch: Thin it with water and extra oil and use it as a salad dressing.
Appetizer: Spread on top of some Smoked Cream Cheese and serve with crackers.
Dinner: Red pesto is great on Traeger Pizza. I spread it on the dough, top with mozzarella, then cook. Finish it with arugula and a balsamic drizzle.
I also really want to try it in this keto feta pasta in the air fryer. Feta goes really well with tomato pesto.
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes
- ¼ cup almonds
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup basil
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Red Pesto Pasta
- 8 oz orzo cooked al dente
- ½ red pesto recipe
- Combine sundried tomatoes, almonds, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.
Red Pesto Pasta
- In a medium-large pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. Add the orzo. Cook for 7 minutes, or until al dente.
- Toss half the pesto with hot cooked pasta. Add more, if desired. Store any leftover pesto in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.