Eat it warm, eat it cool, no matter how you eat it you’ll be craving this pasta!
Pesto is SUCH a versatile sauce — it’s herby, salty, garlicky and a little bit cheesy, and tastes beyond delicious on roasted meats, sandwiches and you guessed it… PASTA.
Warm pasta especially. It soaks up the pesto making every noodle even more delicious!!
Classic pesto is made from fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil, but it’s versatility doesn’t just apply to what it tastes great on — you can easily swap out ANY of the ingredients to jazz it up!
In this case, we’re swapping the basil for chewy, tart sundried tomatoes and replacing the pine nuts with equally scrumptious walnuts. It creates a nutty, earthy, rich tasting sauce that takes you right under the Tuscan sun.
Here’s how you’ll make the Sundried Tomato + Walnut Pesto Pasta:
- Pulse all of your pesto ingredients together in a food processor
- Boil the pasta according to package directions
- Slice your asparagus spears
- Toss everything together!
Couple quick things to note when making:
- Use sundried tomatoes in oil — I tried my first batch with packaged, dry sundried tomatoes and it did not go so smoothly!!! The oil helps to emulsify the sauce and allows the food processor to blend nicely.
- To keep the mozzarella balls in tact, let the pasta/pesto/asparagus cool before tossing in!
- Feel free to make the dish heartier with a protein like rotisserie chicken!
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Sundried Tomato + Walnut Pesto Pasta
sundried tomato + walnut pesto
- 1 8-oz. jar sundried tomatoes in oil, see note
- ½ cup chopped raw walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 tbs. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil, to thin sauce
- 1 lb. rotini pasta, I used Banza chickpea pasta
- 1 cup chopped asparagus spears (about 1/2 bunch), sliced on the diagonal
- 1 8-oz. package ciliegine mozzarella balls, sliced in half
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season with 1 tbs. salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Place the entire contents of the sundried tomatoes jar into the bowl of a food processor. Add the walnuts, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. You might need to scrape down sides with a spatula ever so often. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of oil (or less if you want a thicker pesto) to create pesto sauce. Taste and season if necessary.
- In your medium serving bowl, place sliced asparagus spears and 1/2 of the pesto. Top with hot pasta and toss to combine, adding more pesto as desired. Let cool before tossing in mozzarella balls so they do not melt. Top with more parmesan cheese and serve warm, at room temp or cool!