Like its green counterpart, tomato pesto is a sauce made for serving with pasta, vegetables, and other dishes. It typically consists of sun-dried tomatoes and seasonings mixed together in a blender or food processor. Various cheeses, such as Parmesan, are also often added to a tomato pesto recipe.
Garlic, basil, and pepper are the most commonly used herbs utilized in a tomato pesto recipe. Fresh garlic cloves are typically recommended in lieu of dried or powdered garlic. Many cooks add their own personal favorite ingredients as well, such as chopped onion for texture and flavor, or pine nuts for crunch. Parsley is another favorite herb used in preparation of the sauce.
If using sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, there should already be enough liquid in the can to use in making the pesto. Some cooks, however, like to add other liquid ingredients for added flavor. Flavored olive oils are a popular choice, as is red wine. For a tangy twist, some cooks include balsamic vinegar. One of these choices or another choice will be required if the tomatoes are not packed in oil as well.
Tomato pesto is a particularly versatile sauce. Home cooks can add nearly anything they have on hand, from dried herbs to fresh chopped vegetables or crisp fruit, to a red pesto dish. Apples are a favorite fruit to use in a pesto pasta, providing both crunch and, depending upon the cook's personal preferences, sweetness or tartness. A nutty flavor can be added with fresh chopped almonds or pecans.
Though this pesto makes a delicious vegetarian meal, people can also add any meat desired to most dishes made from this tomato sauce. Sausage is a popular meat to use with tomato pesto. Pepperoni can give the meal a bolder, Italian flavor, while crumbled hamburger can provide people with the small amount of meat that they might want in a noodle dish.
Vegetables do not have to be a side dish or garnish, however, when it comes to fresh tomato pesto. Many main dishes can be composed of fresh prepared vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or baked potatoes, that are served with the pesto sauce. Pesto pizza can be quite tasty, and chunky pesto can serve as a salsa replacement. Fresh pesto used in stuffed pepper recipes can create a unique, refined taste that can bring a home cooked meal to the level of a restaurant entree.