Sun-Dried Tomato & Chili Pesto

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I recently discovered this amazing sauce or pesto that I have fallen in love with. Although I’ve made sun-dried tomato pesto many times before and thoroughly enjoyed it each and every time, this version combines sun-dried tomatoes with an equal amount of chili peppers. Add in some garlic, fresh basil, salt, pepper and olive oil and you have a sauce or condiment that is truly amazing! This sauce is really addictive, and can be spread on grilled bread as a bruschetta topping, be used as a sauce by simply tossing it with hot pasta along with a little pasta water, or be thinned a little with olive oil and then be drizzled on top of pizza before or after it is baked. You can also add a spoonful of this pesto into prepared tomato sauces, soups and stews. Added into a sauce, soup or stew, the sun-dried tomatoes add a nice depth of flavor while the chili peppers add a delicious kick.

Since I discovered this pesto a month ago I have made it a couple of times already and what I find really great about it is that you can play around with the ingredients to get just the right flavor and amount of heat you prefer. While my husband likes his food so spicy it hurts, I like mine to have just a bite of heat, and I personally enjoy the overall flavor of each dish I prepare. Because of this, I think for my next batch I may make “his” & “hers” pestos so we each have our own jars!

This pesto sauce or condiment would be a really great idea to give as a holiday hostess gift to someone you know loves good food. If giving as a gift, I wouldn’t make it too spicy though, I’d save the extra hot stuff for yourself! The ingredient amounts are approximate and will depend on the type of chili peppers you use and how hot you like your food. I’d start out with half the chili peppers and add in more as you taste to adjust your personal preference. This sauce will keep two weeks in the refrigerator if it lasts that long!

This pesto sauce would be a great holiday hostess gift!

This pesto is delicious stirred into a bowl of hot pasta cooked “al dente”. Simply add a little of the hot pasta water in to thin the sauce a bit so it coats the pasta well.

The pesto on top of my bowl of pasta just before it is mixed. Delicious!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato & Chili Pesto

A delicious condiment or sauce that can be used on everything from grilled bread to pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Fresh Hot Chili Peppers
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil or Parsley
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
  • Salt & Pepper
  • About 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Throw the tomatoes, half the peppers and oil, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, adjusting seasonings as needed.
  2. Taste, and add more chili peppers as desired, and as much of the remaining olive oil to make a thick sauce, pulsing just until combined.
  3. Be careful not to overprocess as you want to see the individual ingredients and not puree everything into a smooth paste.
  4. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container adding a little additional olive oil to cover.

Adapted from Made in Italy by David Rocco