Pasta with Red Pesto

Pasta with Red Pesto

A spicy and rich Pasta with Red Pesto dish that is ridiculously easy peasy to make.

Every time I go to the Italian market I come out with at least twelve fun new pasta shapes. I swear that is not an exaggeration. This Zitoni was from my last trip, and fun as it is, it should probably come with a warning… it is impossible to eat this in any kind of dainty fashion. These giant, long tubes do not twirl and have a mind entirely of their own. Sauce will be everywhere. (Which is a challenge I actually kind of enjoy). Where are my pasta experts at? What am I missing here?? Is there some kind of technique??? For now I’ll just remember to not wear white when I eat this.

Feel free to use what shape you like, just make this pesto. It’s absolutely divine… it’s made almost entirely from pantry ingredients and whipped up in literally minutes in the food processor or the blender. Boil some water, cook some pasta and boom. Dinner.

Spicy Red Pesto
Spicy Red Pesto

Anything Special You Need to Know?

*If you choose to be adventurous and use the Zitoni pasta, this is the one I used.

*If you can’t find Calabrian Chili paste you could try Sambal Oelek, or possibly an extra tablespoon of tomato paste mixed with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon.

*Bonus holiday dinner idea: Doesn’t this pasta just look like a bowl of Christmas??? Thinking of doing a half and half with this and with green pesto for Christmas dinner. Also thinking about staying in my PJs and eating Cookies for Christmas dinner. I’ll keep you posted.

Pasta with Red Pesto
Pasta with Red Pesto
Pasta with Red Pesto

Pasta with Red Pesto

A rich, spicy red pesto is such a fun change from the usual green basil pesto. Delicious and so easy to make with common pantry ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Calabrian Chili paste
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fire roasted red peppers
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb pasta of choice
  • Fresh basil and additional Parmesan to serve.


  • To your food processor or blender add the capers, garlic and walnuts.
  • Pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add in the tomato paste, Calabrian chili paste, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers and salt.
  • Pulse until well combined.
  • With the machine running drizzle in the olive oil.
  • Blend until well combined but still has some texture.
  • Add in 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan.
  • Mix to combine.
  • Cook the pasta in well salted water.
  • Drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
  • Toss the pasta with about 1/2 cup each pesto and pasta water. Mix well, adding more water and/or pesto according to your taste.
  • Serve with more parmesan and fresh basil.
Keyword pasta with red pesto
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If you like this Pasta with Red Pesto Recipe then you’ll probably love my Aglio Olio e Peperoncino with Lemon and Olives. Another super tasty, super easy pasta dish.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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