I love pasta, and once you taste this Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, it's going to be your family's first choice too. This quick creamy vegetarian pasta recipe uses sun-dried tomato pesto and bursts with rich garlic, basil, and cheese! It is conveniently customizable with any veggies to create your own favorite version.
After a long day at work, it is lovely to come home and make something that can be put together quickly and has minimal clean-up. This Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta comes together in less than 10 minutes. Using jarred sun-dried tomato pesto saves a ton of time and effort but still packs a ton of flavor.
The cream and mascarpone cheese transform this delicious pesto sauce into a bowl of comfort. In addition, this creamy red pesto pasta conveniently whips up in no time at all, making it the perfect dish for a weeknight dinner.
I love experimenting with additions to pasta sauce, and the options are endless: creamy vegetarian pasta, creamy bacon pesto, Lemon Basil Pesto, or mushroom pesto pasta. If you are looking for something different, try these 17 Easy Pesto Recipes Without Pine Nuts. I hope you love this pesto tomato sauce as much as I do.
Why This Recipe Works
- A no-fuss, easy entertaining or weeknight dinner recipe.
- Most ingredients can already be found in your pantry.
- Easily convertible to gluten-free or vegan.
- It comes together in less than 10 min.
- It's an entirely customizable recipe.
- The best creamy tomato pesto pasta ever!
Most of the ingredients in this recipe are likely already in your pantry.
- Pasta: Dried or fresh pasta work great. I love making fresh pasta at home because it is incredibly simple. Likewise, any pasta shapes work for this recipe: penne, farfalle, linguine, spaghetti, etc.
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: Jarred tomato pesto works great and is available at any major grocery store and it is the hero ingredient of this pasta recipe. It brings a delightful tanginess and tastes almost the same as the fresh tomato pesto. In the event that you choose to make tomato pesto from scratch, it's easy to do, and the only equipment you need is a food processor.
- Heavy Cream: The heavy cream makes each strand of pasta shine in the tomato pesto, and every bite is luxurious. As a result, it truly transforms this pasta dish into a decadent bowl of comfort.
- Mascarpone Cheese: Mascarpone cheese creates an incredibly creamy texture in this pasta dish. Likewise, its smooth and luxurious texture add a delicious richness that will make you craving more.
- Fresh Basil: I always use fresh basil in pasta. The natural aroma makes this pasta dish incredibly bright and fresh. You can find fresh basil all year round at most major grocery stores.
- Red Pepper Flakes: A little heat factor with a creamy tomato sauce is an excellent addition for pasta lovers. Likewise, feel free to play around with more of your favorite seasonings like thyme, oregano, parsley, or sage.
- Parmesan Cheese: I like to finish most pasta dishes with a liberal dusting of parmesan cheese.
Basil Pesto: Use a classic basil pesto for a creamy pesto pasta sauce.
Baked Tomato Pasta: To make it one pot casserole dish, mix all the ingredients, place in a casserole dish, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and bake it in the oven at 350 until heated through and bubbly on top.
Add Protein: This sun dried tomato pesto pasta can be easily made with the addition of Italian sausage, chicken, bacon, shrimp, or salmon. For example, creamy chicken sun dried tomato pasta is my personal favorite.
Vegan sun dried tomato pesto pasta: Omit the heavy cream and substitute the cheese with vegan cheese to transform this delicious recipe into a vegan creamy tomato pasta.
Gluten-Free Tomato Pasta: The gluten in this recipe comes from the flour used to make the pasta. Use any gluten-free pasta you prefer however keep in mind, gluten-free pasta generally takes a bit longer to cook.
Add Veggies: Try adding sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or peas. Likewise, roasted vegetables such as roasted red peppers, zucchini, or squash would be delicious.
Swap Cheeses: If you cannot find mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and creme fresh are suitable substitutes.
What To Serve With This Creamy Tomato Pesto Pasta Recipe?
- Any protein such as steak, grilled chicken, or shrimp.
- Lentil Salad
- Crispy Balsamic Brussels
- Sage and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
- Spinach Salad
What Are Other Uses for Sun-dried Tomato Pesto?
- Use as a sun dried tomato pesto spread for sandwiches or burgers.
- Use as a stuffing for mushrooms or peppers.
- Make a sun dried tomato pesto pasta salad.
- Red pesto is delicious as a pizza sauce.
- Use the leftover pesto as a marinade for protein.
How To Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
- First, bring a large pot with water to boil, salt your pasta water once boiling, and cook pasta according to package instructions. Next, in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add the red pesto, heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined and mascarpone cheese has melted, then turn down to low.
- Next, add ¼ -½ cup of pasta water that pasta is cooking in to thin the sauce. The amount you use depends on how thick or thin you want your sauce. As a result, start with ¼ cup and add more if necessary (remember, as it cools, the sauce will thicken up).
- After the sauce has come together, add your cooked pasta, turn off the heat and stir to combine. Next, season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Finally, garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil are shelf-stable until opened, but once you break the seal, you'll need to keep them in the refrigerator. There, they'll stay fresh for up to six months.
It is best to store sun-dried tomatoes in an air-tight container, such as a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator. Likewise, the same method should be used to store homemade pesto.
In general, sun-dried tomato pesto consists of sun dried tomatoes, almonds, garlic, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil. As a basil pesto usually has added pine nuts, tomato pesto often includes almonds. For this reason, it is necessary to pay attention to the label if any allergies are present.
Jarred sun dried tomatoes do not come refrigerated; however, it is important to refrigerate immediately after opening. As a result, the pesto should last up to 4 days after being opened if stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Sun dried tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Likewise, they are well known for their very high concentration of lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant studies have shown may lower the risk of certain cancers.
- Make sure to salt your pasta water and taste the water if you aren't sure how much salt to add. It should taste salty but not so much that it's off-putting. In general, salting the water the pasta is boiling in is your only chance to season your pasta, so please don't skip this step!
- You can add more cream or less depending on your taste.
- Feel free to turn up the heat and add more red pepper flakes!
- The amount of pasta water you add depends on how thick your sauce is and how thin you want it. With this in mind the sauce will thicken as it cools, so it's ok to add a little more than you think you might need.
More Related Recipes
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
- ½ lb dried pasta of any desired shape
- 3 oz jarred sun-dried tomato pesto
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼-1/2 cup pasta water to thin sauce
- salt to taste
- fresh basil for garnish
- freshly grated parmesan for garnish
- Bring a large pot with water to boil, salt your pasta water once boiling and add pasta. Cook according to package directions
- In a medium skillet over medium low heat, add pesto, heavy cream, mascarpone cheese and red pepper flakes. Stir until combined and mascarpone cheese has melted, then turn to low
- Add ¼ -½ cup of pasta water that pasta is cooking in to thin the sauce. The amount you use depends on how thick or thin you want your sauce. Start with ¼ cup and add more if necessary (remember as it cools the sauce will thicken up).
- Add your cooked pasta to your sauce, turn off the heat and stir to combine. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil