This Red Pesto Pasta (or pesto rosso in Italian) features a homemade red pesto sauce made from roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil. It’s super easy to make and produces the most amazing flavors! 

My husband lived in Italy for a few years, so by default we are big Italian food fans in our home! I have a delicious homemade Basil Pesto (which is the traditional green pesto) that I use in some of my favorite pesto dishes including Ricotta Pesto Pasta, Pesto Tortellini Pasta, Pesto Arugula Pizza, and Zupas Tomato Basil Soup

Red Pesto Pasta on a white plate with a fork scooping up noodles.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Homemade pesto. This red pesto pasta recipe is made with a delicious homemade red pesto tossed with salted pasta noodles. 
  • Easy red pesto pasta. The amazing thing about this creamy red pesto pasta is how easy it is to make! You simply cook the noodles, then add all the red pesto ingredients to a blender, blend and you’re done! It’s the perfect easy weeknight dinner! 

Ingredient Notes

Red Pesto Pasta ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a light gray background.
  • Pasta: Feel free to use whatever type of pasta you prefer! 
  • Roasted Red Peppers: I used the store-bought kind (in a jar). If you’d like to, you can use your own roasted red pepper. 
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: This will be used to make the red pesto sauce. If you’d like some for garnishing, you’ll need a few leaves more. 
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil: The ratio of sun-dried tomatoes to red peppers is a perfect balance so it  isn’t heavily a sundried tomato pesto or vice versa. 
  • Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are a staple ingredient to most pesto recipes. You can substitute for a different nut like walnuts or pecans if you prefer or if there is an allergy.
  • Olive Oil: This is the base liquid for the red pesto recipe. Since we are enjoying the olive oil fresh and not cooking it, I like using extra virgin olive oil since it has a richer flavor. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta. Add the pasta to a large pot of salted water and cook according to the package instructions (until al dente).
  2. Make the red pesto sauce. While the pasta cooks, add the roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive olive to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Combine. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the red pesto to the cooked pasta and mix. Add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen up the pasta sauce as needed. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan! 
Four photos showing how to make Red Pesto Pasta: ingredients in a blender, red pesto pasta pureed, the red pesto pasta over noodles, and noodles mixed with the pesto.

Recipe Tips

You can add cooked chicken, meatballs, or shrimp to the dish for some protein!

For a red pesto pasta bake, put the pasta tossed in the red pesto in a baking dish and top with chopped fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake at 350ºF until the cheese is melty. 

You can also add some green olives to the pesto if you’d like! 

You can use a food processor to blend the pesto ingredients together if you don’t have a blender. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store any red pepper pesto pasta leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 6 days.

If you want to freeze this red pesto pasta, I would recommend freezing the red pesto and not the noodles. Noodles do not freeze well. 

To freeze red pesto, store in an airtight container, jar or ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray, then transfer the frozen cubes to an airtight container or ziplock bag. This is perfect because you can pull out a cube or two of pesto as needed! 

Red Pesto Pasta on a white plate topped with fresh basil, on a light gray background.

Recipe FAQs

Does red pesto contain nuts?

Pesto is typically made with nuts (traditionally pine nuts). However, you are welcome to omit the nuts or use a different one depending on your allergy or taste preference. 

What is red pesto pasta?

Red pesto pasta is an Italian dish made of pesto made from a red pepper sun dried tomato pesto with noodles. 

What goes well with red pesto pasta?

I would serve this red pepper pesto pasta with a side of Panzanella Toscana, Buttered Vegetables, or a Caprese Salad.

Is this red pesto pasta spicy?

No it isn’t. If you want it to be spicy, simply add a lot more red pepper flakes!  

Is red pesto healthy?

Yes it is! The red pesto sauce is packed with basil, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and olive oil! It’s homemade too so it’s all freshly made with fresh ingredients.

A fork in a bowl of Red Pesto Pasta topped with fresh basil.

More Recipes with Pesto

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a star rating and review or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

Stay up-to-date by following us on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest.

A white plate filled with Red Pesto Pasta topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Red Pesto Pasta

A delicious homemade red pesto tossed with salted pasta noodles. A really easy dinner that tastes amazing!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings10

Ingredients
 

  • 12 oz pasta - of choice

Red Pesto

  • 3/4 cup roasted red peppers - from the jar
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves - lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil - drained
  • 1/4 cup parmesan - freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts - can sub walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes - add more if you want more heat
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Bring a pot of water to boil over medium heat. Once boiling add a few teaspoons of salt to the pot. Stir in the pasta and cook until al dente. 
  • As the pasta cooks make the red pesto. Add the roasted red peppers, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, pine nuts, salt, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and olive oil to a blender (or food processor) and blend until smooth.
  • Strain the pasta, be sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Place the pasta in a large bowl, stir in the red pesto. Add a splash of reserved pasta water to loosen it up, as needed. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Can add cooked chicken or shrimp to the dish for some protein!
  • Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 6 days.
I don’t recommend freezing pasta. However, you can freeze the red pesto! Freeze in an ice cube tray then transfer the frozen pesto cubes into an airtight container or bag. Remove cubes as needed and let thaw! 

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal (26%)Carbohydrates: 67g (22%)Protein: 15g (30%)Fat: 21g (32%)Saturated Fat: 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 4mg (1%)Sodium: 1065mg (44%)Potassium: 385mg (11%)Fiber: 4g (16%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 486IU (10%)Vitamin C: 20mg (24%)Calcium: 115mg (12%)Iron: 2mg (11%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!