Main course Recipes

Red pesto made presto

The Italian tradition of pesto doesn’t only come from the classical Genovese green colored pesto. There is also a red variation, originally from Sicily, with the addition of tomatoes and ricotta. This sauce is raw, easy and quick.

The best thing about this kind of pesto is that you can easily use your high-speed mini-blender to make it in less than a minute. In fact, the tomatoes provide the necessary liquid to make it perfect to prepare with this small kitchen tool, which is easy to handle and wash. Remember to place the tomatoes on top so they are close to the blades. In case you prefer to be loyal to tradition, and you have a little more time and patience at disposal, you can also use your pestle and mortar.

Even of this dish, there are many different variations in Italy. To make it even healthier I decided to prepare it dairy-free. It’s delicious just the same, but you can go on and add the ricotta and the grated cheese if you wish.

What’s better than having a delicious and healthy meal ready in less than 10 minutes?


Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 160 g of pasta. For this recipe, I have been using gluten-free fusilli made out of peas flour, which gives it a characteristic green color, but you can use any other kind of pasta you like. If you don’t want to make it gluten-free I suggest a whole-wheat pasta, I often use it myself. Any shape of pasta other than fusilli will work just the same. I like the way the pesto gets incorporated in the fusilli, that’s why I choose them.

For the vegan, dairy-free version:

  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, or 1 large tomato, diced
  • a nice handful of fresh basil leaves stems included, there should be about at least 30 leaves
  • 20 g of pine nuts, it’s also common to use almonds or pistaches as an alternative, and I wouldn’t exclude cashews, they should work just as nicely.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 Tbsp of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp of grated Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano or a tsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 clove of garlic. It’s not uncommon to omit it entirely, in case you find it too heavy for your digestion, or if you are worried it might ruin your romantic encounters.



Boil the pasta deducting 2 minutes from your package instructions, to keep it ‘al dente’, taste to check if it’s cooked properly, and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, place the ingredients of the sauce inside your high-speed mini-blender and blend for about a minute, or just a bit longer if you like it smoother.

In a bowl, mix the pasta with the red pesto sauce. Serve on a plate with a fresh basil leaf as decoration.


Tech tips

You can make this recipe also in a food processor, or in a traditional blender. In the case of the blender, you might have to double the doses of the ingredients, so you can allow the blender to have enough liquid to work correctly.


002_Red pesto made presto


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