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This scrumptious sun-dried tomato pasta combines creamy ricotta, intensely-flavored sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil to make an easy delicious family meal.
It’s also very quick to whip up, and ready in less than 15 minutes!
I love sharing recipes that bring you to the table homemade meatless meals saving you time and money. This sun-dried tomato pasta is no exception.
My mum used to make this easy pasta recipe by whizzing up fresh ricotta, basil, and convenient sun-dried tomatoes from the jar. That was her creative take on the classic “red pesto” (known as “pesto rosso”). .
And it was so simple, yet rich, fresh… and absolutely delicious!
She also used a small amount of extra virgin olive oil just to combine all the ingredients. But not much, since the pasta and the sun-dried tomato pesto are tossed in the pot along with the starchy pasta-cooking water.
This step is a must and works like magic!
The result was a bowl of sun-dried tomato pasta rich but not oily, packed with flavor, and super delicious!
List of the ingredients
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Whole-milk ricotta
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
How to make it
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Meanwhile, place the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.
- Blend until you get a pesto-like consistency (not too smooth).
- Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot, stir in the tomato pesto and the water.
- Toss well to combine and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Sun dried tomato pasta ingredients
Before we get to the recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients:
Pasta: I’ve used bucatini pasta, which is basically a thicker version of spaghetti. But you can use any short, large or long pasta shapes that work well to capture the pesto sauce, or you can make your homemade cavatelli pasta that goes so well with pesto.
Sun-dried tomatoes: I love their umami flavor, and they’re rich in many nutrients too. I prefer the sun dried tomatoes that are marinated in olive oil in a jar, rather than the dried ones without oil.
Basil: fresh basil leaves are a must.
Ricotta: the fresh Italian ricotta takes this pasta dish to the next level (my mum was right!). Use good quality ricotta with a soft creamy texture, either over the counter from the deli or from the refrigerator section.
Extra virgin olive oil: use good-quality extra virgin olive oil, definitely the best for flavor and nutrition.
Parmesan: it adds its rich, savory flavor.
Garlic: for its aromatic flavor. But go easy on garlic, it might overpower the other ingredients.
How to use sun dried tomato pesto?
This simple nut-free red pesto is a super versatile recipe that goes just with about everything, which means you can enjoy it not only with pasta dishes, but also spread on sandwiches or crunchy bruschetta, served with roasted vegetables, stirred into risotto or chicken stews.
Plus, if you choose short shape pasta like penne or fusilli, you can make a delicious sun dried tomato pasta salad perfect for a picnic or a potluck.
How long does sun dried tomato pesto last?
Any leftover pesto can be stored in a jar can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. However, since this red pesto recipe calls for fresh ricotta cheese, it doesn’t last more than 3 days.
Can you swap cream cheese for ricotta? Yes, I did it a few times and it worked fine (but I didn’t tell my mum, of course!). Also, you can skip basil if you don’t have this delicious fresh herb on hand.
More quick pasta recipes?
Here a few of my popular pasta recipes, delicious and quick to make:
- Arugula pasta
- Tomato basil pasta
- 10-minute cream cheese pasta
- 15-minute garlic mushroom spaghetti
- 10-minute lemon ricotta pasta with spinach
- 10+ super quick pasta recipes
If you try this sun dried tomato pasta, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram.
I would love to hear from you!
Sun dried tomato pasta
- ½ cup (100 grams) jarred sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- ½ cup (120 grams) whole-milk ricotta
- ½cup (10 grams) basil leaves
- ¼ cup (30 grams) parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 lb (225 grams) Pasta, any type (spaghetti, fusilli, penne…)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) pasta water, reserved to thin out the pesto
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper, to serve (optional)
- Add sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta, olive oil, basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp scant of fine salt to a food processor and blend for a few seconds. You want a pesto-like consistency (coarse rather than a puree). Set aside until pasta is done.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salty water according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta when it's still al dente, but remember to reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot along with the pesto and a touch of the pasta water. Toss over medium heat until everything is well combined, adding the rest of the pasta water as much as needed to make the pasta moist.
- Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgn olive oil if desired.
tomatoes (the ones without oil) for the jarred sun dried tomatoes. How to use “dry” sun dried tomatoes? These ones don’t have as much moisture as the oil-packed counterpart, so you have to hydrate them in water first to plump them up. Just let them soak in warm water for thirty minutes until soft, then drain and pat dry. Nutrition facts: the nutrition values are for one serving and are based on an online nutrition calculator. It’s an estimate only and it should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. Please see my disclosure policies.