Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

February 17, 2020 by Nicole Collins

Rain, rain go away.

Come again anoth…actually…don’t. :-/

I’m grumpy. Let me apologize for that now. We haven’t seen the sun in forever. Ok, it came out today, but I'm not holding my breath that it's going to stay. My back yard is so swampy from all of the endless rain that the inside of my house is now as much of a mud pit as the outside. And, I’m tired of wearing all of these layers of clothes!

So to help improve my mood, we’re going to do a thing.

Welcome to the Taste the Rainbow Challenge!

Instant mood improvement!

Here’s how this works…over the next 6 days, we’re going to eat all the colors of the rainbow one color at a time. Some of the color interpretations might be a little tiny bit loose; but overall, you’ll just the gist. I can’t even tell you how much fun I had with this one.

So that means that first up, we have RED day! And today, we’re making Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta!

And when I say we’re kicking red day off with a flavor bomb, I mean it! The little cherry tomatoes I bought to roast and put on top of our pasta were called flavor bombs! Gorgeous and delicious. And, all they need is olive oil, lots of salt and pepper, and about 20 minutes in the oven to become beautifully soft and full of flavor.

Next, we need to make the sun dried tomato pesto. It’s a simple as throwing some sun dried tomatoes, lots of basil, garlic, walnuts, and a little grated parm into a food processor and letting it do its thing. Drizzle in some olive oil at the end to help smooth it out, and voila…pesto! Now pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but I love switching up my nut choices in pesto. I chose walnuts for this pesto for one reason only. It’s what I had in my freezer! And, I love the extra earthiness the walnuts bring to this pesto.

Once the pesto is made, we’re moments away from a rich and luscious meal. For our pasta, I chose to use a linguine for this dish, but any shape of pasta would really work great here. I also chose to use whole wheat pasta. It’s healthier for you with less complex carbs, and I truly think you can barely tell the difference once you sauce it up. While the pasta is draining, return the pot to the heat over low, add the pesto and some heavy cream, and let it cook for just a minute or two while the thick sauce comes together. Then, return the pasta to the pot, toss it in all the creamy goodness, and top it with those gorgeous roasted tomatoes.

The end result is a beautiful, copper toned red (thanks to the whole wheat pasta) bowl of heaven. The sauce is rich and luxurious courtesy of the cream we add at the end. The roast tomatoes are juicy and salty adding the perfect finishing seasoning to the dish. And, the whole thing is comfort food at it’s finest while still being marginally healthy. Bellisimo!

Ok everyone, we’re going through the colors of the rainbow in order (ROYGBIV, anyone? [but minus the indigo]); so you can guess what color is up next. And, anyone that knows me knows what a challenge tomorrow’s recipe was for me!

Until then, enjoy! And, let’s eat!

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Serves: 6 Print

Ingredients:

For the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto:

  • 1 jar (7.5 oz) sun dried tomatoes in oil

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil

  • ¼ cup walnuts

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:

  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

To Serve:

  • 12 oz linguine (I used whole wheat)

  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Make the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Place tomatoes on the baking sheet, and top with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast tomatoes for 12-15 minutes until softened and the skins start to burst. Set aside.

  2. Make the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto: To the bowl of a food processor, add sun dried tomatoes with their oil, basil, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process on high until broken down and combined. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Taste for seasoning; and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Set aside.

  3. Finish the pasta: Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta, and discard water. Place the pot back over medium low heat. Add pesto and heavy cream. Cook for 1-2 minutes until combined and creamy. Add pasta back to the pot, and toss to coat in the sauce. Remove from heat. Divide pasta between 6 bowls, and top with roasted tomatoes. Serve!

Recipe notes:

*The roasted tomatoes are nice and salty. We're not really adding much other salt to the dish, so they also act as a nice finishing seasoning.

*Different brands of sun dried tomatoes come in different sized jars. We're looking for somewhere from 6.5-8.5 oz jars for this recipe.

*This sauce is so thick and creamy, it will really work well on any cut of pasta. So use what you have! I also prefer whole wheat pasta, but feel free to use regular pasta.

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