On a recent trip to my Farmers Market there were some new vendors selling their products. I am a big fan of supporting and buying any Michigan products. One was the Pure Harvest Pesto Company located in New Hudson, Michigan who makes sun-dried tomato and basil pesto (their two pestos are available at Busch’s). The other was The Local Epicurean selling many different varieties of dried pasta who come from Grand Rapids (they do have an online site to buy their pasta). Right now there are not any stores in my area that carry this brand.
A sister and I saw the two and said “dinner tonight”. So, after some discussion we bought the sun-dried tomato pesto and a Basil and Garlic Pappardelle. Needless to say our dinner was delicious, light but very tasty. Along with some fresh garlic/parmesan bread and a salad it rounded out the dinner nicely.
This kind of inspired me to try and make my own sun-dried tomato pesto. I frequently have made the familiar “green pesto” – see my recipes Pesto and Weight Watcher’s Pesto Two Ways but I have never tried to make sun-dried tomato pesto. I checked out all the possibilities and came up with two; one by Giada De Laurentiis and the other a Weight Watcher’s (8 points per serving). I was trying to get as close to the Pure Harvest’s ingredients as possible. The big difference was pine nuts, neither recipe I made had any nuts.
It is very important to always use fresh ingredients; fresh garlic, lots of green, fresh basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as well as a good brand of sun-dried tomatoes. Yes, the picture below shows my homegrown garlic and basil along with a couple of my tomatoes. You could dry your own tomatoes but I chose not to do this – you cannot do everything from scratch! In addition to the Basil and Garlic Pappardelle from the Farmer’s Market I bought another Michigan pasta, Al Dente’s Basil Fettucine. They are located in Whitmore Lake and a number of stores in my area carries their products.
All three sun-dried pestos! Weight Watcher’s on the left, Giada’s on the right and Pure Harvest in the back. I have to admit that the Weight Watcher’s recipe tasted the best before I added it to the pasta. Too many nuts in Pure Harvest’s pesto (but I loved all of the cheese) and Giada’s had a strong sun-dried tomato taste. Weight Watcher’s had a good balance and of course was much lower in fat, only 1 tbsp. of olive oil. But all three tasted fantastic on pasta!
What is especially convenient is you can make the pesto ahead of time, refrigerate it and bring to room temperature before cooking your pasta which takes only a few minutes. This makes for a very easy meal to put together during the summer when the basil is in abundance. I have 4 plants and I sure have been using them – I should probably make some more sun-dried tomato pesto and freeze it. Then when it is snowing and cold outside I can make it again and only wish for spring to come 🙂
Giada's Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 (8.5 oz.) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Blend all of the ingredients, except for the cheese, in a food processor until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the cheese.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
WW Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Weight Watcher’s Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto:
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (without oil of course)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-1/2 cups basil, tightly packed
- 1/2 tsp. table salt (I used Kosher)
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
Place tomatoes in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain tomatoes and reserve liquid.
Place tomatoes, 1 cup of tomato liquid, oil, 1/2 cup of cheese, garlic, basil, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth. Add more tomato liquid if needed and adjust seasonings.
Add immediately to hot pasta and enjoy!
Weight Watcher’s 8 points (1 cup pasta, 1/3 cup sauce and 3/4 tsp. cheese)
Pesto sauce on its own is 2 PointPlus per 1/3 cup
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com