Pesto Rosso with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Walnuts and Garlic

I just finished a jar of Bertolli Pesto Rosso. I had purchased it this morning with the intention of spreading it on crackers or tossing with hot pasta ... but I couldn't resist. It was so good! I discovered this little jar of goodness when I first moved to Europe years ago. I used it as an inspiration to create my own version with sun-dried tomatoes, Grana Padano, walnuts and loads of garlic. From time to time, I still buy the stuff in the jar, but my homemade pesto rosso tastes so much better and it's so easy to make.

You start with five simple, wholesome ingredients ... sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), freshly grated grana padano (sometimes I use Parmesan), freshly minced garlic, chopped walnuts, and extra virgin olive oil. The fresher the ingredients, the better the pesto will taste.

The sun-dried tomatoes are soaked for an hour in hot water. Then they are chopped up into smaller pieces and tossed together with the remainder of the ingredients (this makes it a lot easier to purée). I always use my immersion blender whenever I make pesto (it's easier and not as messy), but if you don't have an immersion blender, then a food processor or blender will do just as well.

After everything has been pureed, you get this beautiful, luscious, red paste. It doesn't lack in flavour and is sure to please all garlic and sun-dried tomato lovers. I love to spread this on homemade Italian bread or toss with angel hair pasta, but short pasta, like penne, would also work well.

This is my mother-in-law's favourite recipe and I make it for her several times a year. This recipe makes about three cups and it keeps really well in the fridge when covered in a bit of oil (up to 3-4 months).

If you give this recipe a try, please don't hesitate to let me know about it. It is always well received every time I make it, so I'm sure it won't disappoint. :-)

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 oz or 200 g) sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil and packed in the cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups (4 oz or 125 g) grated Grana Padano
  • 1 cup walnut halves (3.5 oz or 100 g) walnuts, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup finely chopped)
  • 2-4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml or 300 g) extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Stack 3 or 4 sun-dried tomatoes on top of each other and slice them lengthwise. Then slice them perpendicular to get smaller pieces. Place in a large bowl and repeat for remainder of tomatoes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except for salt and pepper and toss well together. Using an immersion blender (a blender or food processor can also be used), purée for several minutes until it looks even and consistent in texture. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  3. Store in a jar (or jars), pour a thin film of oil on top to prevent it from molding, cover tightly with lid. Keeps well for 3-4 months in the fridge.
  4. Serving: Spread on bread or crackers, toss with hot or cold pasta, or use it as a substitute for pizza sauce.

(Recipe Created by Me, Inspired from Bertolli Pesto Rosso)


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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).