Thursday, April 2, 2009

Foodie Friday - Not Your Mama's Red Sauce!

My husband prefers his pasta with home made marinara sauce, and he'd gladly eat it at least once a week. While I like the traditional tomato based sauce, I also like to change things up a bit. Not long ago, I finally found an alternate pasta recipe that makes us both happy. Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, is a simple recipe that nets gourmet results. Quick and easy to prepare, it makes a perfect dinner on a busy weeknight, yet it's also elegant enough for weekend guests. The ingredients are things that I usually keep on hand. Tonight I was a bit rushed, and forgot to included a jar of roasted red peppers and basil in the picture. (Truth be told, I left the basil out of this shot intentionally. When I buy fresh basil, whatever doesn't get used immediately goes into the freezer. Frozen basil tastes closer to fresh than dried, and it's an acceptable substitute, but is not very photogenic! I can't wait until the pots of fresh herbs are back on my deck!) I have made changes to the original recipe. We like it best this way!

Pasta With Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

8 ounces pasta

1 cup frozen peas


1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes - drained (NB: We've discovered smoked sun dried tomatoes in a resealable zip lock pouch. Make sure they say 'moist and ready to eat', otherwise you will have to soak them in water. They add a very distinctive touch to this recipe!)
1 cup roasted peppers, drained

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, except add peas to pasta cooking water for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water before draining peas and pasta. Return peas and pasta to pot.

While pasta is cooking, make sauce. Combine sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, drained peppers, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until almost smooth. Add 1/4 cup cheese and process until well mixed.

Add reserved cooking water, sauce, and 1/4 cup snipped basil to pasta & peas in pot. Toss gently. Serve with additional grated cheese.
In no time flat, this will be on your table, your taste buds will be very grateful, and you may feel like doing the mambo!
Now it's probably psychological, but my husband and I think that pasta tastes best in these bowls...
Maybe it's because they were a gift from a close friend, or maybe it's just that they're so whimsical that you're happy even before you start eating!

I did have a dickens of a time trying to photograph these dishes. They're so heavily glazed, that light reflects off of them in alarming amounts. In the picture above, you can see the recessed, pendant, and under cabinet lights from the kitchen reflected on the rim and the interior of the bowl.

In the picture below, you can see the lights plus the last bit of daylight coming through the windows from 3 different rooms. It took at least two dozen shots to get these two pictures!

To continue on your culinary journey, please visit the other bloggers participating in Foodie Friday. Our hostess, Michael Lee, at Designs By Gollum has Mr. Linky ready to guide you.

Buono Apetito!


  1. Buono Apetito, indeed!...This looks absolutely delicious...and easy too... I love the bowls & I think you did a great job photographing fun it is to see the chefs once the meal is eaten! Thanks, Nancy Jane!
    ;-) Bo

  2. Nancy Jane~ Nice to meet you! Such a lovely blog.

    Oh my gosh, this recipe looks wonderful~ I really appreciate meals I can make with ingredients on hand and this fits the bill perfectly.

    Love your dishes!! Soo cute!! Oy, I know just what you mean about the light bouncing off of glossy glazes ~ I just had that experience on Tablescape Thursday this week. But you did a great job!

    Buono Apetito! I'm making this one, soon!! xo~m.

  3. Look at those plates!!!! I love them. Your marinara sauce is a keeper! I sometimes eat sun-dried tomatoes right out of the bag. What a great idea to add this flavorful touch to your sauce.

  4. This looks so good. We love pasta and have it at least once a week, so I'm always looking for new recipes with pasta. Love those bowls. My cooking would even taste better in those cute bowls! laurie

  5. Nancy! That is just a beautiful yummy looking dish!!

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments. I love your recipe as I really like sun dried tomatoes. I will have to make it in the near future. Your plates are adorable!

  7. Your pasta dish looks good. I like a lighter sauced pasta (as does DH) -- I've never frozen basil (doesn't it go dark?) but I do preserve it in olive oil in the fridge -- a tablespoon of that on top of roasted tomatoes -- you almost think it is summer!

  8. Hi Nancy Jane! Oh, your pasta looks delicious and thank you for the recipe!
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  9. This looks delicious and also so pretty! And your dishes are just darling!!! You did a good job with the photos... I can see them perfectly.

    Happy Foodie Friday...


    Sheila :-)

  10. Looks delicious and I think I even have enerything needed already in my pantry!

  11. This looks delicious, Nancy Jane!!

    I love the bowls!

  12. I love the dishes you are dishing up your specialty in. I adore Italien food. This looks like something even I might be able to make.

  13. All great ingredients for a great pasta meal. I think serving on those charming dishes may inhance the flavor!

    My apologies...The post I had on my blog was an old Foodie post. I didn't think anyone would be visiting until tomorrow. So I thought I could wait to post the new one before I went to bed. All that to say I hope you can come by
    sometime to see the new one. Sorry for the mix up.

    Sweet wishes,

  14. This sounds wonderful tasting and easy to make. I can't wait to try it.


  15. A precious post! The pasta looks so delicious and I adore your bowls...and the photos you got are great!

  16. The mwal looks exquisite and those dishes are precious.Anything would taste yummy is them...ann

  17. I love it! I'll have to try that one; thanks for sharing!

  18. Hi Nancy Jane - Your photos turned out great. Its amazing how frustrating it can be to take a decent picture.

    Love your sun dried tomato pesto sauce. I prefer meatless sauces and this looks like a winner.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Hope you come back again.

  19. Your pasta looks great...BUT
    I am looking fwd to your Babka post..I read your comment on another blog.
    My dh makes it for Easter...d you have a good recipe with the cheese in it?

  20. That looks so good! Simple flavors but I bet they make quite a statement. Cute plate!

  21. The pasta looks good. I'm always on the lookout for pasta recipes. So easy for dinner after work! And I'm loving your plates! Gorgeous!

  22. I love pasta recipe, and this one looks really easy and delicious. What adorable dishes! So cute.

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Please stop by again any time! Amy :)


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