Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto sauce is a favorite all over the world.  Pesto, as it has become known, is a sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, salt, pepper, pine nuts, Parmigiano cheese and olive oil.  In Genoa, in the Liguria region of Northern Italy, where it is believed pesto sauce was invented, this is the traditional way of making pesto as well, along with the addition of another type of cheese called Fiore Sardo, which is a cheese made with sheep’s milk.  However, the term “pesto” itself, means to pound or crush, which leaves it open to the imagination and interpretation of the person making the sauce, thus allowing for it to be made in many different ways, with a multitude of different ingredients.

I don’t always set out to completely reinvent the wheel, but I do look for alternative ways of making that wheel go round.  If the result is that the wheel has been reinvented, then so be it.  That just makes my day.  As I mentioned above, traditional pesto sauce is a world wide favorite, and it is one of my favorite sauces as well.  But I like to “play with my food” to much to only settle for one type of anything.  I am also very creative and imaginative, and LOVE all kinds of food.  That creative combination and sense of adventure allows me to reinvent new dishes and recipes all the time.  Fortunately, my husband is a pretty adventurous eater as well, which makes cooking all that much more fun.

Costco is my favorite place to shop, and as anyone who has ever shopped there knows, their foods come in LARGE quantities.  The other day, when I purchased a Costco sized bag of walnuts, my husband asked what was I going to do with all those walnuts, especially, since out of all the nuts out there, they are my least favorite type, and I LOVE nuts.  I decided to make a sun-dried tomato pesto using some of those walnuts.  The sauce came out great.  I will be serving it over pasta with green chili sausages tonight (tomorrow’s post).  Any type of pesto sauce is so easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  Just put all the ingredients together in the food processor, and process until it becomes your desired consistency, and voila!  Presto, Pesto, your sauce is made.

Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce


I cup sun-dried tomatoes, marinated in olive oil

1 cup fresh basil

1 jalapeno, seeds removed

1/2 cup walnuts or nuts of your choice

1 heaping TBSP garlic

salt & pepper to taste

red pepper flakes to taste

1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese

1 cup olive oil (more or less depending on the consistency you are looking for)


Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend.  Sometimes I like a nice thick pesto and sometimes I like it a little thinner.  To make it a little thinner, just add more olive oil.  It just depends on what I am using it for.  Serve over cooked pasta, vegetables, or meat and Mangia!







Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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