This sun dried tomato pesto is a classic Italian sauce or condiment, also called Pesto Rosso. It requires only five minutes of your time, and is an excellent addition to so many of your favorites dishes.

With all the basil flavor you love in a traditional pesto combined with the incredible zest of sun dried tomatoes, this recipe is a keeper.

Make a big batch today, and learn how to store it in the freezer to use whenever you’ve got a craving!

A small white bowl of pesto rosso, garnished with fresh basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.
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Pesto is a traditional Italian uncooked sauce that uses simple ingredients to create a fabulous condiment or sauce for so many dishes.

By capturing the best of those fresh, aromatic flavors, basil pesto has become an important addition to so many of our family meals. This sun dried tomato pesto is another fabulous addition to our line up of favorites!

Whether you use it for topping, dipping, smothering or spreading, pesto rosso is an incredible five minute condiment that you can’t skip. Add this simple recipe to your skillset, and you’ll impress everyone with the most delicious addition to any gathering!

This sun dried tomato pesto is delicious anywhere you use traditional pesto – try it in my pesto chicken, pesto aioli, pesto hummus, pesto pasta and SO much more! I have shared all of my favorite ways to use this fabulous pesto rosso below.

A small white bowl of pesto rosso, garnished with fresh basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop. Gold spoon tops the bowl.

Why You’ll Love this Pesto Rosso

  • So Easy
  • Packed with Flavor
  • Stores Well
  • Versatile
  • Vibrant Color
  • No Oven or Stovetop Required
A small white bowl of pesto rosso, placed next to basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Sun dried tomatoes – One jar, drained. Reserve the oil you drain off to help create the right consistency for your pesto as you pulse the food processor.
  • Fresh basil – Fresh is always best for a recipe like this one!
  • Pine nuts – You can also use almonds.
  • Minced Garlic – Learn how to peel garlic here, and how to mince garlic here. While I will often tell you that store bought minced garlic is fine, in this recipe the fresh garlic will really shine.
  • Red pepper flakes – For a little layer of heat. Add more or less to your preference.
  • Parmesan cheese – Fresh grated is best.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A good quality olive oil will shine in this simple recipe.

Variations

A small white bowl of pesto rosso, garnished with fresh basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.
A variety of gold cake pans, loaf pans and muffin baking pan sizes laid out on a marble surface.

Tools to Use

  • Food Processor (or blender)
  • Or, a Mortar and Pestle
  • Storage Jar with tight-fitting lid
A small white bowl of pesto rosso, placed next to basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.

How to Make Pesto Rosso

  • Combine – Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender (except the olive oil) and slowly add the olive oil as you process. A food processor filled with ingredients for sun dried tomato pesto A food processor filled with ingredients for sun dried tomato pesto
  • Process until smooth and combined. To do it the old fashioned way, use a mortar and pestle. A food processor filled with ingredients for sun dried tomato pesto A food processor filled with ingredients for sun dried tomato pesto
  • Serve – Serve stirred into pasta or store in in the fridge of freezer.
A small bowl of pesto rosso sun dried tomato pesto

Tips

  • Keep the oil that you drain off from the jar of sundried tomatoes. You can use this for the olive oil required to make the pesto rosso, adding more to reach the desired consistency.
  • If possible, use fresh minced garlic and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Those extra steps make all the difference in a simple, uncooked sauce like this one.
  • Trim the stems of your basil and place in a jar or vase filled with water in a sunny spot to keep it fresh until you make your pesto – it holds so much better than in a container in your fridge!
  • You can also place it in a bowl at room temperature and cover with a towel, or lightly roll basil into a towel.
Hand dipping a slice of crostini into a bowl of pesto rosso.

Serving Suggestions for Pesto Rosso

close up of pesto rosso

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – this pesto rosso can sit out at room temperature for up to two hours while serving. After that, it should be refrigerated to preserve freshness.
  • Refrigerate – Transfer it to an airtight container. Add a layer of olive oil to help keep it fresh longer. Olive oil prevents the basil from coming in contact with air, preventing it from oxidizing. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freeze – This sun dried tomato pesto freezes so well, I often make a big batch when I have leftover basil. Freeze it in an ice cube tray (or sheet pan) and then transfer to a freezer bag. Frozen pesto keeps well for up to six months. You can defrost the cubes in the fridge or stir the cubes directly into hot pasta. For more details, refer to our basil pesto post.
A small white bowl of pesto rosso, placed next to basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.

More Sauce Recipes

A small white bowl of pesto rosso, placed next to basil leaves, placed on a marble countertop.
5 from 2 votes

Pesto Rosso

This sun dried tomato pesto is a classic Italian sauce or condiment, also called Pesto Rosso. It requires only five minutes of your time, and is an excellent addition to so many of your favorites dishes.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces sun dried tomatoes 1 jar, drained (reserve the oil you drain off)
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese fresh grated
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions 

  • Combine – Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender (except the olive oil) and slowly add the olive oil as you process.
  • Process until smooth and combined. To do it the old fashioned way, use a mortar and pestle.
  • Serve – Serve with crostini, (or anywhere you love pesto!) or store in the fridge of freezer as directed.

Julie’s Tips

  • Keep the oil that you drain off from the jar of sundried tomatoes. You can use this for the olive oil required to make the pesto rosso, adding more to reach the desired consistency. 
  • If possible, use fresh minced garlic and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Those extra steps make all the difference in a simple, uncooked sauce like this one.
  • Trim the stems of your basil and place in a jar or vase filled with water in a sunny spot to keep it fresh until you make your pesto – it holds so much better than in a container in your fridge!
  • You can also place it in a bowl at room temperature and cover with a towel, or lightly roll basil into a towel.

Video

Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 1001mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 416IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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