This simple but filling linguine dish consists of freshly made walnut pesto, parmesan cheese, sweet sun-dried tomatoes, and a light tomato cream sauce.
This creamy pesto linguine recipe is courtesy of the absurd amount of basil and parsley still left on our back deck. The other day I came to realize that after eagerly planting all these herbs in my backyard in May, I had only on three occasions this summer seized the opportunity to utilize my herb garden. And with August coming to an end soon I had better come up with a solution to use up some herbs or God forbid, they would go to waste. Then I would not have any excuse to convince my husband to help me plant more herbs next spring.
So, the first thing that came to mind was pesto and also California Pizza Kitchen’s pesto cream penne dish, which I admittedly always get when I’m there. (Yes, I am weird and almost never get pizza.) And from there, this creamy pesto linguine with sun dried tomatoes dish was born.
For the pesto, I blended together garlic, toasted walnuts, parmesan, lemon juice, good olive oil, basil, and added parsley for more variety. Pine nuts are traditionally used in pesto, but I’ve chosen to use walnuts here instead — they’re more affordable. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
And of course, you can replace the pesto with the store-bought kind, but I highly recommend, no, insist that you make your own. It smells and tastes better. The store-bought kind is oddly discolored and has a disproportionate amount of oil compared to basil. Plus, you can freeze your leftover homemade pesto and top it over some chicken or pasta later. Nothing goes to waste!
For the pasta sauce, I combined light cream, tomato paste, lemon juice, and sun-dried tomatoes with some of the freshly made pesto. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes balances out the saltiness and slight bitterness that goes with the walnut pesto. It makes for a great pairing. Some grilled chicken over the pasta also makes for a filling and delicious addition. Extra pesto may be added if that’s your preference. Try it out and let me know in the comments below how it goes!Print
- 2 cups basil
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 oz. ( 1/2 standard box) linguine
- 4.5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 3 T. walnut pesto
- 1 cup light cream
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- In a large stockpot, boil 4 cups of water and add salt once it comes to a boil.
- While the water is heating up, get the pesto ready. In a food processor, blend together the basil, parsley, garlic, walnuts and parmesan cheese. Slowly pour in the olive oil while the machine is on, and scrape the sides as needed. Taste and add more cheese if needed.
- Once the water has boiled, add the linguine and cook according to the box’s directions. Drain the pasta when done and run under cold water. Set aside. This prevents the pasta from overcooking.
- Heat the same stockpot over medium heat. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for a quick minute. Whisk in the light cream, tomato paste, lemon juice. Once the sauce is boiling, turn off the heat.
- Off the heat, mix in the pesto and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Add in the pasta and toss well ensuring the pasta is completely covered by the tomato pesto cream sauce.
- Serve with more parmesan cheese on the side. Garnish with any remaining basil or parsley leaves. You can also add in some grilled chicken to make it even more filling.
Double the pasta and sauce if you plan on serving a family of four. Pesto amounts can stay the same. There will be more than enough leftover pesto to freeze.
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