Penne Pesto al Rosso with Green Beans & Spinach
This sundried tomato pesto pasta is something really special. It takes me right back to dates nights with hubby (then boyfriend) at our favourite Italian restaurant. Time and time again we went back and it always hit the spot. It’s amazing how food can transport you somewhere so special, filling both your belly and heart (I sound like such a cheese ball) with smiles.
Italian is our favourite cuisine and we both love pizza and pasta (carb it up baby) so we always went for one of each and shared. Before we found the Pesto al Rosso, when faced with pasta decisions our go-to dish was always penne arrabbiata. One adventurous day however we thought it’s about time we tried something else on the menu. The waitress recommended the Pesto al Rosso and boy…. were we satisfied! Just gorgeous.
Tangy sundried tomato paste, with notes of garlic and chilli, balanced beautifully with mellow vibes from the cream and sweet red onions. This is one dish I’m not letting go as a vegan. Almond milk is a perfect sub to the cream, it gives the pesto a subtle creaminess without making it overly indulgent or heavy.
There are so many veg combinations you can try with this dish, but our favourite is with green beans and spinach. The green beans add a beautiful freshness and crunch whilst the spinach is soft and creamy. Delicious.
I prefer to use wholewheat pasta and really any shape goes, tagliatelle, fettucine, rigatoni…love it!
- • 675g sundried toms (approx. two cups minced)
- • boiled hot water to soak the sundried tomatoes and for boiling pasta and vegetables
- • 400g green beans, topped, tailed and halved
- • 250g spinach, washed
- • 1 large red onion finely chopped or minced
- • 6 garlic cloves, minced
- • 1 cup passata
- • ¾ cup almond milk
- • 2 tbsp olive oil or the sundried tomato oil used to preserve the tomatoes
- • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes
- • 2 tsp salt and extra to salt pasta water
- Remove the sundried tomatoes from the preservation oil or liquid, if the tomatoes are preserved in oil keep the oil as we can use this later.
- Soak the tomatoes in boiled hot water for 10minutes to help them soften.
- In the meantime, place water for boiling your chosen pasta and veg on boil, ensuring you salt the water generously. When the water is boiling add 6 portions of pasta and the green beans. Boil just until al dente (so the pasta and beans still have some bite) this should take 8-10mins. 2-3 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the spinach.
- Drain the pasta and veg ensuring you keep some of the pasta cooking water as you may need this later to loosen the sauce.
- Drain the tomatoes and blitz them in the food processor along with the onions and garlic.
- In a wide saucepan, place the oil on low to medium heat. If the tomatoes were preserved in oil, use this instead of regular olive oil as it will have lots of flavour.
- Add the sundried tomato paste, red chilli flakes and salt. Mix well and let this cook for a good 4-6 minutes before adding the passata and almond milk. Mix well again and let the sauce finish of for a further 3-4 minutes. At this stage you can either leave the sauce as it is or add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen it. I prefer a thick sauce as I find it coats the pasta beautifully.
- Taste and add more salt/ red chilli flakes as necessary.
- Stir in the pasta and veg and enjoy this beautiful pasta dish.
- You can always make the sauce ahead and then simply add it to freshly boiled pasta and veg just before serving.