Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce

With all of this holiday eating and cooking, making a big meal may not be your biggest priority right now. And you’re probably out of leftovers….. so, here’s a solution to still having a quick, easy, home cooked meal. It would take longer for you to call and order a pizza and wait for it to be delivered, than it would take to make this. This is a dinner we’ve had on our “Meatless Monday” nights. Yes, I’m aware it’s now Tuesday. But it’s great any time you need something fast.

Just be warned, I took pictures of this dish MONTHS and MONTHS ago. Like, almost a year. And I’ve just never posted it before. And the food was taken with my old phone. At night, when it was totally dark. So it’s really not the best picture you’ve ever seen. But make the food anyways, and you’ll see in person it’s much tastier looking than my crappy photography makes it out to be! 🙂

 

pasta ingredients

Don’t be alarmed by the date on the half & half. This is an old picture!

Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce

  • 1 lb. pasta, noodle type is your choice
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • 1/3 c. prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 tomato, chopped

Cook pasta according to directions on box. In a small saucepan, add the prepared pesto and the half and half. Heat on medium low, until warm, and stir together. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to a bowl. Pour creamy pesto sauce over the top and add chopped tomato. Stir and serve.

It’s seriously that easy AND only 4 ingredients. Feel free to add some cracked black pepper or a little bit of grated parmesan but really, it has a ton of flavor already.pasta

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

pasta salad 3This is a copycat recipe. And it’s all in the name of saving money! There’s this fancy grocery store/market around the corner from me and they sell the inspiration for this sun dried tomato pasta salad. We had it from their salad bar before and it’s delicious. But the catch? I think they want my firstborn child to pay for it! It’s so incredibly expensive! For a large container, it’s like almost $20! It’s really tasty, but not $20 tasty! So I wrote down all the ingredients that were in it, (lo & behold, I had a lot of them in my fridge/pantry already) and gave it a whirl. Bingo! It’s pretty close. And it didn’t cost me $20 to make a cup of pasta salad. And it’s now my husband’s favorite pasta salad. Can’t beat that!

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad (this will serve a crowd)

  • 1 lb. penne rigate pasta
  • 1, 8 ounce jar sun dried tomato pesto (Classico is my fav)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 c. kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/3 c. sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 c. pepperoncinis, chopped
  • 1/2 c. cubed/chunked mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. mayo (optional)*

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and let cool. When pasta is cool, add to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir together and drizzle with a little more olive oil if pasta has become dry.

*Of course I had to add mayo into this. It adds a tad bit of creaminess but if you prefer, leave it out. I’ve done it both ways and they’re both delicious in my opinion.

pasta salad 2pasta saladpasta salad 4Serve this at your next BBQ. Steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs….. it goes with just about anything.