About 5 years ago, I came up with the idea for this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta recipe, but I wasn’t totally IN LOVE with it. I went back to the drawing board, added some new ingredients and now it is a keeper! I can’t believe how easy it is, thanks to my local Trader Joe’s and my awesome Blendtec blender.
I am always looking for ways to save time by creating recipes that are easy for me to make on a weeknight without sacrificing flavor. It’s even better when I can come up with new ways to use ingredients that are already available products and combining them for a winning combo.
Semi-homemade is my mantra and I’ve hit the motherlode with this one, seriously. The sun-dried tomatoes make the flavor so rich and the balance with the basil pesto is amazing. I seriously can’t get enough of this sauce. And to top it all off, I’ll be blogging soon about two other recipes that I have made using this awesome sauce (here is the first one for Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Soup). And it freezes well! Can this recipe get any better? I use several Trader Joe’s ingredients, but if you don’t have one nearby, it’s easy to find other options in your local grocery store. I gravitate toward Hunt’s tomato products because they are less sweet than some of the other brands.
DIY Lean Cuisine
I use Costco’s Kirkland 5 Cheese Tortelloni for this recipe. Can you believe that you only have to boil it for two minutes??? PERFECT for a semi-homemade recipe! Here’s a secret… you can cook these tortelloni in your microwave at work. Just boil water in a microwave, then add the tortelloni to cook for 2 minutes, drain the water and add the sauce. Press the easy button and you’re set with an easy yummy lunch! If you’re really well-prepared and have a freezer at work, you can keep the tortelloni and sauce frozen so it’s ready whenever you are. Just freeze the sauce in ice cube trays, then pop the cubes out into a ziptop bag.
TIME SAVERS FOR BUSY FAMILIES
If you’re a busy mom like me, you really should check out the rest of my website! I post recipes and products that save time for my busy family, like my favorite kitchen gadgets. Be sure to subscribe to my page to get new time-saving recipes and ideas in your inbox! Here are a few of my posts: Twist on Trader Joe’s Gnocchi (made from two kinds of TJ’s frozen gnocchi), and this Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock which is made from rotisserie chicken. Also, here’s a helpful Acne Product Review for Proactiv vs. Curology and which one works best for my older daughter. Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites at no cost to my readers.
- One can (14.5 oz) Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- One medium onion, diced
- *One jar (8.5 oz) Trader Joe's Julienne Sliced Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil (oil drained)
- *One can (15 oz) Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Sauce
- *3.5 oz Trader Giotto Genova Pesto (half of a 7 oz container; oil drained if desired)
- ½ cup Swanson's Chicken Broth
- 1 packet Trader Joe's Savory Broth Concentrate, chicken flavor**
- 2 cloves Gourmet Garden garlic puree
- ¼ to ½ tsp salt (salt to taste)
- ¾ cup low fat half and half
- Fresh basil and parmesan cheese for serving
- Pasta of your choice, cooked per package directions. We use Costco 5 Cheese Tortelloni
- Puree the can of petite diced tomatoes in a blender.
- Place a strainer into a bowl and strain the pureed tomatoes to remove the seeds.
- Return the pureed tomatoes to the blender.
- Using the same strainer and bowl, drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the blender.
- Saute the diced onion in olive oil until translucent and add them to the blender.
- Add the tomato sauce, pesto, chicken broth, chicken concentrate, garlic and ¼ tsp salt to the blender.
- Blend thoroughly until the sauce is a smooth puree. The sauce will be thick.
- Pour the sauce into the pan used to saute the onions.
- Add the half and half to the blender and blend to remove any remaining sauce from the blender jar.
- Pour the half and half into the sauce and stir to combine.
- Warm the sauce on medium until heated through
- Check salt level and add more if desired.
- In a separate pan, cook the pasta per package instructions and reserve up to 1 cup cooking liquid.
- Drain pasta.
- Toss tomato pesto sauce with the pasta. Add some of the pasta water to thin sauce if desired.
- Top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
**Use any brand of chicken bouillon. One packet of TJ's chicken concentrate would make one cup of chicken broth.