Penne al Pesto Rosso – A family favorite !


I’m not a big fan of creamy and wet Pasta and that is why I like to toss my Pasta in a thick Pesto sauce or just some good old EVOO 🙂 There are basically two kinds of Pesto Sauces, 1) Pesto Verde…made using Basil as the core ingredient and 2) Pesto Rosso…made using Sun-dried Tomatoes. There are variants of the above two using different ingredients, but the classic Pesto Verde or Rosso is the best !

Getting Sun-dried tomatoes at a reasonable cost in Bangalore is tricky. The bottled varieties are all imported and costs upwards of 500 bucks for a 200/250gm bottle. You can try to make Sun dried tomatoes yourself at home if you have good sunlight….but it can take a couple of days to dry em out completely. You can also oven dry them…I think but it still takes 8-10 hrs for that.

Easiest would be to pick up a Pesto Rosso sauce from the supermarket. You get a lot of brands from Jamie Olivers to Sacla and the cheapest would be Dr. Oetkers/Funfoods.

Pesto Rosso is also a great spread for your sandwich…slather the pesto on a slice of bread…top up with some roasted peppers/zucchini and your choice of cheese and grill it…end result will be a yummy italian sandwich 🙂

How to make a Pesto Rosso Sauce yourself ? Very simple…Blitz together Sun-dried tomatoes, some garlic (you can omit it if you don’t like it), rosemary, blanched almonds, walnuts or pine nuts, dash of balsamic vinegar, paprika, some pitted black olives, grated parmesan cheese, lots of EVOO and finally some salt n sugar to balance the flavors. You can store the resulting sauce/paste in the refrigerator in an air tight bottle/jar. Top up the jar with some more EVOO as it will enhance the flavors and also act as a preservative.

For making the Pasta,


Penne or your choice of pasta – roughly about a closed two hands full per person
Olive Oil : 2 tablespoons
Yellow and Red Peppers : Two halves, diced roughly into bite sized pieces
Zucchini (Yellow or green) : Take a half…diced into thin quarters.
Cherry Tomatoes : about 2 handfuls
Black pitted olives : a handful sliced
Basil leaves : a handful, washed & dry
Parmesan Cheese : for grating as per your taste and liking
Mixed Italian Herbs : 1-2 teaspoons
Pesto Rosso : 3-4 tablespoons
Salt : To taste
Milk : 1-2 tablespoons


1. Boil pasta with some salt to al dente and keep aside.
2. Take a pan, heat it and add Olive oil.
3. First saute the cherry tomatoes with a pinch of salt until they just start to blister. Take it off and keep aside.
4. Next saute the veggies for about 2 minutes, add half of the herbs and some salt.
5. Add the Pesto sauce, olives, mix well and saute for a minute or so. At this point you can add a tablespoon or two of milk to loosen up the sauce.
6. Add the pasta in and mix well to ensure that the pesto sauce is coated well on the pasta.
7. Switch off the heat. Grate some parmesan, remaining add the cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and mix well.
8. While serving grate some more parmesan on the top. Have it with some herbed garlic toast.

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