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Fusilli with Tomato Pesto Sauce recipe

Fusilli with Tomato Pesto Sauce recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta types
  • Fusilli

Fusilli pasta tossed with a tomato pesto sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan and garnished with fresh basil. An easy midweek supper!

66 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (500g) pack fusilli pasta
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons shop-bought pesto
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful fresh basil leaves for garnish

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and return to pot.
  3. Season tomato sauce with salt and pepper; stir in pesto. Pour sauce over hot cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle with cheese, garnish with basil leaves, and serve immediately.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(46)

Reviews in English (42)

Used different ingredients.I used sun-dried tomatoes for a more intense tomato flavour. They were packed in oil, so I used the oil from the jar instead of the regular olive oil. This lended a nice, subtle tomato flavour. I think I added a little more pesto, however, as without the tinned tomatoes it was too dry. Great, easy dish!!!!-29 Sep 2008

this couldn't have been easier. it was really tasty, too. great for when you're skint but still want to eat well.-29 Sep 2008

I thought that this was 'ok',but not as good as i expected it to beI was quite dissapointed!!-07 Apr 2010

One-Pan Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce

You might have a secret desire to be Suzy homemaker. Or to be known as the Martha Stewart of your neighborhood. Or strive to be just like whoever that overachiever is on Pinterest who makes, creates and cooks every. single. thing. from scratch.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to let those dreams die.

It’s okay to take a short cut here and there.

You don’t have to do it all, every. single. time. Especially when it comes to weeknights in the kitchen when all you’re craving is some simple, easy comfort food.

Hey! Let’s jump on the short cut, one-pan-dinner train together.

There are the times when only fresh will do. That’s when I make homemade pesto. And then there are times when certain measures must be taken to maintain sanity in the household. That’s when I’m more than happy to use a flip of the wrist and dig into a jar of pesto straight from my pantry.

I love a good, herbacious basil pesto, but I do like to change things up and my man just gave me good reason to do so stat.

After way too many to count years together, the other day my husband announced that he simply isn’t a fan of sun-dried tomatoes. What? How could he have hidden this from me all these years? I can only imagine the reason he made the statement is due to the fact he was eating a garden ripe tomato.

DeLallo’s Simply Pesto Sun-Dried Tomato with Olive is the perfect antidote and peace keeper in the kitchen. It’s a mix of sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a smooth and somewhat spicy bite that totally jives with my husband’s tastebuds. And with a dose of half and half, it makes a killer creamy sauce for a one-pan chicken dinner.

About the recipe:

Whether it’s chicken, meat or pasta, for some reason I always think I need to add garlic and onion to a sauce. No need here thanks to the wonderworld of DeLallo’s Simply Pesto. It has plenty of flavor for the whole dish. I did add a pinch or two of kosher salt to bring out the flavors just a bit more.

I added slices of baby bella mushrooms and fresh spinach to up the vegetable ante and work in a few more healthy gold stars in our diet. If you don’t have them on hand, no big deal. The dish would be just as creamy and delicious. Or, consider adding in red bell pepper or zucchini instead.

I gave this creamy dish just a bit more creamy flavor with a sprinkling of tangy goat cheese. Salty parmesan or asiago would be fine substitutions.

After mixing the half and half and the pesto together , don’t be alarmed if it looks to be separating. The sauce will come together as it cooks down and also as it cools upon serving.

I added the cooked fusilli pasta to pan to coat the pasta, but if you prefer, serve the plain pasta on the side of the plate and top with the chicken breast and sauce.

Notes about this recipe

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Sicilian Pasta With Tomatoes, Garlic & Almonds

I like to use fusilli lunghi, which are like long golden ringlets (or, less poetically, telephone cords) but, if you can't find them, simply substitute regulation-size fusilli (or indeed any pasta of your choice).

Since the sauce is unheated, it would be wise to warm the serving bowl first but, having said that, I absolutely adore eating this Sicilian pasta cold, should any be left over. It is so easy to make and, being both simple and spectacular, is first on my list for a pasta dish to serve when you have people round.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I like to use fusilli lunghi, which are like long golden ringlets (or, less poetically, telephone cords) but, if you can't find them, simply substitute regulation-size fusilli (or indeed any pasta of your choice).

Since the sauce is unheated, it would be wise to warm the serving bowl first but, having said that, I absolutely adore eating this Sicilian pasta cold, should any be left over. It is so easy to make and, being both simple and spectacular, is first on my list for a pasta dish to serve when you have people round.

Fusilli with Tomato Pesto Sauce recipe - Recipes

A delicious simple to make pasta with home made Italian pesto. Fusilli is corkscrew shape pasta which is also known as Rotini or spiral pasta. It’s perfect to trap in the flavours in those ridges. This simple recipe could also be made with ready made pesto, but it won’t have the same freshness and peppery flavour of the arugula or rocket lettuce. You can also make the pesto in a small food processor if you don’t have a mortar and pestle. There’s just something magical about doing this fusilli pesto pasta the old fashion way. The feel of textures and the aromatic smells simply add to the joy of cooking. It’s best to under cook your pasta by 2 minutes, and finish the cooking process in the pan. You still want the al dente firmness for a perfectly cooked pasta. Always use pasta water to thin out the sauce, so keep some aside before straining.


    6oz -170g Fusilli pasta 1 packed cup of aragula (Rocket lettuce) plus 20 loose leaves 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves (plus 12 loose leaves) ⅓ cup - Pinenuts plus 2 tbsp 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese 4 tbsp olive oil 1 large garlic clove Half a lemon Salt


Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to the boil. Salt accordingly once boiling.

In a mortar and pestle, add the arugula and basil with a few pinches of salt. (flaky salt is best) Pound until mushed.
Add a peeled garlic clove, pound until crushed. Add ⅓ cup pinenuts and crush. Add the grated Parmesan cheese. Keep pounding into a paste. Add the olive oil, mix well, then add the squeeze of half a lemon. Mix well. The pesto is ready.

In a dry frying pan on high heat, add ⅓ cup pinenuts and toss until toasted. Once golden brown, transfer to a cold bowl and set aside.

Add your fusilli pasta to the boiling water and under cook your pasta by 2 minutes. (i.e: if al dente is 11 minutes, cook for 9)

In a frying pan, add one ladle of pasta water and place all your pesto into the water. Turn on heat to medium and mix well.

Strain your pasta keeping some of the cooking water aside.

Place your strained pasta directly into the the frying pan with the pesto sauce and mix well. Add more pasta cooking water to reach the desired thickness (Pasta will absorb a lot of the water) Cook for 2 minutes while mixing. Add the additional 12 leaves of the basil and arugula into the pan, mix well and serve.

Garnish with more fresh arugula leaves and scattered toasted pinenuts.

You can also add a drizzle of olive oil and a little more grated Parmesan cheese.

Little Tips

If your pasta water is well seasoned, there should be enough salt in the pesto mix, but always taste and season accordingly. Pepper is not required as the arugula is very peppery.

To begin, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (Add enough salt so that the water tastes like the sea.) Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. You’ll need to reserve some of the cooking water for the sauce. It’s easy to forget to do this, so I always set a liquid measuring cup out as a visual reminder.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sun-dried tomatoes with their oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, sugar, basil, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil.

Pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture is finely puréed. Divide the mixture in half. Set aside.

Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water (you’ll need it for the sauce), then drain the pasta.

Add the pasta back to the pan. Add half of the pesto and stir to combine, adding the reserved pasta water little by little, until the pasta is well-coated and moistened. I usually use about 3/4 cup of the pasta water, but you may need more or less. (Refrigerate or freeze the remaining pesto for another meal.)

Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and red pepper flakes, if necessary. Right before serving, toss in 2 tablespoons chopped basil and the mozzarella pearls (it’s important to do this right before serving so the cheese doesn’t melt from the heat of the pan).

Transfer to a serving dish or pasta bowls and serve with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Types of Pesto

Pesto is the Italian word for "pounded" and it refers to the traditional method used to prepare this type of uncooked sauce which originated in Genoa, Italy—by pounding the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle. Today, we have the luxury of using a food processor, which makes this a simple, fresh way to dress pasta.

Traditional pestos are made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and olive oil. Modern versions are made with everything from kale, to cilantro, mint, parsley, arugula, spinach, broccoli, broccolini, beet greens, and more in place of the basil.

Fusilli Pasta With Herb Pesto & Shrimp for Gabe

My daughter and her family come to stay with us here in Umbria for three weeks every summer and I love sharing our Italian experience with my grandkids, and know that my daughter who spent her high school years here, also wants her children to know and embrace their Italian heritage. This year during their stay, we made a pilgrimage down to Calabria to San Giovanni in Fiore where my Father-In-Law was born, then headed to the beaches of Calabria to relax along the shore and enjoy the seafood.

My grandkids, compared to most American children, would probably be considered as fairly adventurous eaters, and I love seeing them experience and fall in love with new foods. My youngest grandson could even be described as a little reckless with his dining choices as I remember a recent trip to Venice when he ate all of my discarded shrimp tails (shells only) and rubbery sea snails, then tried to order them the next day for lunch. He was quite surprised that they didn’t offer shrimp tails on the menu, and in fact you had to order the entire shrimp (which he didn’t want)! This same child, who is now just five years old, couldn’t get enough mussels on our trip to Calabbria, cleaned and ate a whole grilled fish like his Nonno, and had us running from restaurant to restaurant looking at menus because he was craving octopus. My granddaughter, our only girl, and the sweetest, nicest girl ever, has always had an adventurous palete, and from the time she was a little girl was willing to try anything. She loves to take hummus to school for lunch, begged me to make her fried zucchini flowers (then ate at least a dozen), and her favorite pizza is a meat lovers pizza topped with lots of anchovies. That alone should tell you something about her tastes!

My eldest grandson though is more like his father, and moves more slowly when trying new foods. This year he did fall in love with Italian tomatoes, and when we were in Calabria he embraced our love of seafood with a vengeance, ordering it every meal he could. I am not sure he loved every dish he ordered, but one dish he truly did fall in love with at a small trattoria in Tropea was a pasta dish made with pesto and fresh shrimp. When he asked if I could make this dish for him when we returned to Umbria, I was very happy to do so.

Most folks think that a pesto sauce must be made of basil, along with a little garlic, some toasted pine nuts, olive oil and grated cheese. Pesto can be made with many other options however, and for this pesto I combined both parsley and basil in my sauce. The great thing about making pesto is that you can vary the flavor combinations depending on what is available and what flavors you prefer. This summer in fact, I have fallen in love with pesto made from celery leaves and lightly toasted almonds with just a little hot red pepper and lemon zest. Herbs such as parsley, basil, celery leaves, coriander and mint work well in a pesto sauce, and you can also use arugula, spinach, or even broccoli to create a tasty sauce. If pine nuts are too expensive, instead throw in some pistachios, almonds or walnuts. Want to change up the flavor even more? Include some lemon zest or juice, or a dash of red pepper flakes.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

I had an all-American weekend full of good friends and food, punctuated by flashes and booms. It was overwhelmingly fun. You know what I mean? Since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d share my three-day holiday weekend recovery plan with you today.

Here it is: organic whole grain pasta, tossed with tons of roasted veggies and homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. It’s fresh, filling and leftovers keep well for lunch. Just what the doctor ordered.

Sun-dried tomato pesto has been on my list for ages now, so when my friends at DeLallo asked me to create a recipe that highlights their fantastic sun-dried tomatoes, I knew just what to make. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are perfect for pesto, since you can pour all of that delicious, tomato-infused extra-virgin olive oil right into the food processor.

My pesto is a riff on traditional basil pesto, with sun-dried tomatoes in addition to fresh basil. Sun-dried tomatoes are super rich in umami flavor, so they easily fill the place of Parmesan, although you can certainly add some cheese if you’d like.

I like my pasta with tons of vegetables, so I roasted up a big pan of balsamic summer veggies to go on top. I think it would be fantastic with roasted broccoli and winter squash, too. Feel free to play around with pasta shapes, too. Curly shapes really grab hold of pesto, but penne would work, too. To really lighten it up, cook up some fettuccine or linguine and supplement with squash noodles like I did last summer. Yum.

You can go in a lot of different directions with this pesto. Spread it on a sandwich or toast, serve it as a vegetable dip, or thin it out with extra olive oil (or even some water) and use it as a sauce for any number of things. Let me know how you like it!

How to make pesto baked chicken:

  1. I’m lazy (and I encourage you to be as well), so I place the knob of butter in the baking dish, then placed the baking dish in the oven while it preheats so that I don’t have to zap it in the microwave in a separate bowl! If you decide to do the same, just make sure that the butter doesn’t burn or brown.
  2. While the chicken brines, we’ll toss the stuff that makes the pesto tomatoes and the pan sauce. My homemade pesto recipe works great here. You can add ALL the ingredients for the sauce (except the mozzarella) into the baking dish and stir to combine. Then just pop everything into the oven and allow it to roast.
  3. During the last 5 minutes, you’ll add the shredded mozzarella to the top of the chicken breasts and pop the dish back in the oven under the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt and become bubbly on top. You can make the pesto baked chicken without the mozzarella too, if you’d like. Just let it stay in the oven for the last 5 minutes rather than popping it under the broiler.

How do you suggest serving pesto baked chicken?

The simple answer is however you like! I served it up over a bed of al dente spaghetti – it soaked up all the sauce beautifully along with a salad. But I could see how this would be lovely with toasted bread topped with those pesto tomatoes and chicken and roasted veggies on the side.

What I love most about this recipe is that you can make it fancy enough for when you’re hosting dinner by serving parmesan roasted Brussel sprouts on the side, or garlic sauteed mushrooms with homemade pull-apart cheese bread. Or you can make it the most down-home meal with steamed broccoli, pasta drizzled with pesto baked chicken and tomatoes, or even a baked potato or creamed corn in the slow cooker.

It’s probably the best 40 minutes I’ve ever spent on making food.

*post originally published Aug 2019, updated with new images May 2020.


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