Red Pesto Pasta
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!
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!
- 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.
- Cook the pasta. Add the pasta to a large pot of salted water and cook according to the package instructions (until al dente).
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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.
Red pesto pasta is an Italian dish made of pesto made from a red pepper sun dried tomato pesto with noodles.
No it isn’t. If you want it to be spicy, simply add a lot more red pepper flakes!
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.
More Recipes with Pesto
- Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes
- Kale Pesto
- Kale Pesto Pasta
- Grilled Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Sandwich Recipe
- Chicken Caprese Sandwich
Red Pesto Pasta
- 12 oz pasta - of choice
- 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
- 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!
- Can add cooked chicken or shrimp to the dish for some protein!
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 6 days.