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Pesto Rosso

Get ready, the way you look at pesto may permanently change. Sun dried tomato pesto or other known as pesto rosso, is nutty and herby, with a sweet and tangy twist. This quick and easy condiment comes together in minutes, and you might just find yourself choosing it over the traditional pesto Genovese. Enjoy it on pasta, as a spread, drizzled over pizza, or honestly if you are like me straight off the spoon..

*This post is sponsored by DeLallo, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for your support!

2 plates of pasta that have been tossed in pesto rosso. A small bowl of pesto rosso.

So Pesto Rosso… What is it?

Literally translating to red pesto, this variety of pesto gets its red hue from sun-dried tomatoes. With the addition of tomatoes this Italian condiment is a little sweeter than traditional pesto with just a hint of tang.

For this recipe we use jarred sun-dried tomatoes from DeLallo. These sun-dried tomatoes are marinated and stored in extra virgin olive oil with herbs which gives this pesto an additional layer of flavor. This is just one of DeLallo’s products in their extensive collection which includes everything from authentic Italian pasta, olive oils, sauces and condiments to gourmet ingredients like peppers and Italian San Marzano Tomatoes. DeLallo puts quality and taste at the forefront of all their products while still being competitively priced. To check out more DeLallo products and buy the ingredients to make this pesto check out their website HERE!

DeLallo sun-dried tomatoes surrounded by walnuts, basil, chili flakes and parm.

What Can I Use This For?

Sun dried tomato pesto shouldn’t be treated any different from your traditional basil pesto. Below are just a few ideas on how to use this pesto. Best rule of thumb if you would put pesto Genovese on it chances are you can put pesto rosso on it.

  • Pasta – My favorite and an obvious one. Although not mandatory, add a few tbsp of pasta water to thin this pesto, and to add that starchy goodness.
  • Spread – This pesto tastes fantastic as a sandwich spread.
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Add to Eggs – Pesto is a great topping to eggs, better yet fry your eggs in a little pesto. I have a quick and easy pesto egg and prosciutto toast up on IG here!
  • Top a Dip
  • Protein + Vegetables – Finish cooked chicken, meat, and seafood with pesto or better yet toss those roasted vegetables in a dollop of pesto for an easy and well rounded seasoning.
DeLallo EVOO, sun-dried tomatoes, Fusilli Col Buco  and 2 bowls of pasta tossed in pesto rosso.

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What You’ll Need for Pesto Rosso

  • Sun-dried Tomatoes – As stated above, for this recipe we use DeLallo’s jarred sun-dried tomatoes. You can use either the Sun Dried Tomatoes or the Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes. Either one works. These marinated tomatoes give the pesto another layer of flavor and depth. Also, they practically melt in your mouth right out of the jar, so you can be sure the pesto will be super smooth and not chewy.
  • Fresh Basil
  • Walnuts – Doing your wallet a favor here. Also, after multiple tests walnuts were the superior nut paired with the sweet sun-dried tomatoes. These will need to be roasted and cooled prior to incorporating them in the food processor. For the longest time I have been toasting my nuts in a frying pan. While I still think this is the best approach for a smoother, flatter nut such as a pine nut, walnuts are bumpy and irregular. There are parts of a walnut that won’t ever get direct heat and thus won’t be fully toasted. Under the step by step I walk you through the oven method. This takes about 2-3 minutes, plus preheating time, and will toast the entire nut with ease. Just make you don’t walk away.
    • Is there a substitution for walnuts? Yes, you can easily make this with roasted almonds. I found that almonds made it taste a touch earthier, but overall very similar.
  • Parmesan Cheese – As with 99.9% of my recipes, fresh only.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Good EVOO. For this recipe I use DeLallo Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This aromatic and bright olive oil makes this pesto shine, and adds an incredible amount of depth. If you don’t have a go to EVOO for finishing this is the one to try.
  • Chili Flakes -I can see the question now. Is pesto rosso spicy? No, don’t worry the small amount of chili flakes isn’t adding a significant amount of heat, just cutting into some of the natural sweetness.
  • Garlic- Fresh only!

Additional Ingredients

  • Optional Pasta – Players choice, however the pasta photographed is DeLallo Fusilli Col Bucco. If you ask me this is a perfect shape for the texture and grit of this pesto.

Tools Needed

  • Food Processor – This recipe yields 1 1/2 cups of pesto rosso. You don’t need anything fancy, small, large, you just need something that will be able to finely process the ingredients, and one that you can drizzle in the olive oil.
the ingredients for pesto rosso in a food processor

Step by Step

Toast the Walnuts – Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Place the walnuts on a sheet pan in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not walk away, they go from toasted to burnt fast. You can tell that they are done when they smell and taste slightly nutty. If you snap one, it should snap easily. Cool on the side for a few minutes.

Finely Process the Ingredients – In your food processor add the cooled walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic clove, chili flakes and about 1/4 tsp of salt. Process on low until a micro consistency. Add the basil and process again until small and fine. Add the sun dried tomatoes and turn the processor on low until it becomes a paste. Drizzle in the olive oil on low until combined.

pesto rosso mixed in a food processor

Storing/ Reheating

Store this sun-dried tomato pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Don’t want to enjoy it right away? You can also freeze it easily. Freeze in a standard ice cube tray. Once frozen pop them out and store in a zip lock bag for up to a month. Enjoy it straight out of the fridge or allow residual heat from whatever you are pairing it with heat it gently to preserve the fresh basil and Parmesan flavor.

Red pesto not your thing? Check out these other forms of pesto.

Spinach Pesto
Rustic Pesto
Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Pesto Rosso

Print Recipe
A twist on the traditional, this pesto rosso gets its red color, and sweet and tangy flavor from sun dried tomatoes.
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pesto, Pesto Rosso, Red Pesto, Sun-dried tomatoes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 5 people


  • 1 Food Processor


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt start with 1/4 and add another 1/4 if needed
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 6.7oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • On a sheet tray lay the walnuts in a single layer. Place in the oven for 2-3 minutes until toasted. Place on the side to cool
  • In a food processor add the cooled walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chili flakes, and salt. Pulse until finely processed.
  • Add the basil and whole jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until a paste is formed. Once formed drizzle in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil on low speed. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.

1 Comment

  1. Brendan Nosal
    May 12, 2023 / 1:18 pm

    5 stars
    I was lucky enough to taste test this while this recipe was being deveopled. And let me just say, I ate JARS of this pesto. Such a pleasant surprise after only eating green pesto for years and years. Slightly sweet, nutty and a little tangy. Absolute perfection.

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