Pesto Genovese is one of our favorite sauces and one of the reasons we grow a good number of basil plants every year. It’s very convenient to have the main ingredient at have whenever you are in pesto mood.
The other popular type of pesto – the red pesto, was however, a stranger to us. Sergey saw a recipe somewhere and was hooked by the idea. We started searching for a good recipe and found a number of different varieties. It is probably not a surprise for you – the world is full of various versions of this quick and easy sauce. Some use fresh tomatoes, some sun-dried soaked in olive oil, and some don’t even contain tomatoes at all!
So we actually made our own mix and it turned out to be great. Add it to steaming hot tagliatelle and you have the quickest tasty lunch ever. It’s also great on top of some crusty bread, or you can even add a spoon of it in the bread dough.
Makes: around 1 ½ cups pesto
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
2 roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
generous handful dried tomatoes*
¼ cup olive oil
½ ground almonds, peeled
1/3 cup calamata olives, pitted
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
3 cloves garlic
handful fresh basil leaves
few chili flakes
*These days I use our freshly dried tomatoes, right from the oven, so I needed to add more olive oil (almost ½ cup), but if you use already soaked in olive oil dried tomatoes, you wouldn’t need that much.
I know the good pesto is made “pestando” i.e. by hand, using mortar and pestle. But since we use dried tomatoes, and they are almost impossible to reduce into paste by hand, you better use a blender or food processor for this pesto rosso.
I also used raw almonds, already peeled and just lightly toast them for few minutes in a dry frying pan. This step is just to be sure there will be some crunchiness in the pesto. I also ground the almonds separately, but that’s because my blender tends to puree everything, too quickly. Well, the rest is easy – just pulse everything until you get a paste with a nice texture and enjoy.