Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tomato Pesto Cream Sauce

This sauce is my own creation. I thought it'd be neat to have pesto and cream sauce get hitched. I imagine you could probably do it with a regular basil pesto, or a cilantro pesto. I am a pesto-holic and will post more super simple recipes eventually. When you look at the ingredients you may ask "why no nuts?" Usually pesto contains either walnuts or pine nuts. Well, I never use walnuts because Zach is allergic, and I used to use pine nuts, despite how expensive they are, until one day I didn't have any and made a pesto without them. I honestly couldn't taste any difference, so I decided to stop wasting $3.50 on 1/4 cup of pine nuts when I could just leave them out.

The first time I made this it was kind of like stars aligning. The pasta went on the fork, the fork went to Zach's mouth, and suddenly his eyes teared up and all he could say was "Wow." I had tasted the sauce before I gave it to him and thought it was good, but I honestly hadn't expected that reaction. He immediately decided he wanted it to be a regular around here, and I've made it three or four times since developing it a month and a half ago. I hope you like it as well. I will stress the fact that sun dried tomatoes packed by themselves (as opposed to in olive oil) are much, much better in this recipe. It is a noticeable difference. You can find the dry, sundried tomatoes usually where they keep the tomatoes and garlic in the grocery store. Buon appetito!


-1 package sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil, preferably. If you cannot find the dry kind, use the ones packed in oil and omit the added olive oil)
-1 large handful of basil leaves, about a 1 – 1 ½ cups
-3-4 medium cloves garlic
-about ¼ cup of olive oil, or more depending on consistency. You want the pesto to look like a squishy paste.
-1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
-about ½ - ¾ cup light cream.
-1 lb penne pasta (I prefer Barilla)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil on the stove. As soon as it starts to boil, pour in the penne, stir once, and cook with the l id off for about 8 minutes for “al dente” consistency. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients (except cream and pasta) one by one in a food processor, blending each one before adding the next ingredient. When it makes a fragrant, sticky paste, scoop into a small saucepan and heat thoroughly. When the pesto is steamy, slowly add in the light cream, stirring to combine. The sauce will have a “bisque” consistency.

Drain the pasta. I leave a tiny bit of pasta water in the bottom of the pan to help the sauce spread. Pour the pasta back into the pot then add the sauce. Stir to coat. I think a slightly sweeter wine tastes good with this and counters the acidity of the tomatoes. A favorite white or rose wine would be perfect.


  1. This really is such a fun dish! I am a huge pesto fan... but this was a GREAT creation!!!

  2. This is Zach jockeying for me to make it this week folks...thanks for the comment baby


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