This red pesto pasta is a flavorful recipe with lots of delicious sauce. Learn how to make pesto pasta that is not drowning in oil. Made with homemade red chilli pesto, this pasta is low in effort and high in taste!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Most pesto sauces are predominantly made with olive oil, nuts and cheese that add to the calories in pesto pasta.
In green pesto sauces like roasted garlic pesto, basil almond pesto, and Thai basil pesto, you use a lot of greens like spinach or herbs like mint and Thai basil for flavor.
In this recipe for chilli pesto pasta, you add roasted tomatoes, peppers and chilies (in addition) to make the sauce. Apart from adding to the nutritional value, they also make the pesto explode with flavors.
So you need less of the olive oil, nuts and cheese. This way, you end up with a chili pesto that you can lavishly add to the pasta without worrying much about the calories.
A healthy red pesto pasta that is full of delicious sauce and not greasy with olive oil! This is a no-guilt pasta recipe like mushroom zucchini pasta without cream.
Like most of my pasta recipes, this red chili pesto pasta is ideal as a quick and easy weeknight dinner with roasted vegetables or a veggie salad.
Or make it a delicious side dish for your protein like easy baked thin chicken breasts.
You can also eat it with seafood like browned butter honey garlic salmon. (Look for more options below in the “what to serve” section.)
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
- Homemade red chilli pesto: The recipe makes 1½ cups. I add all of it for 4 servings of pasta. It might seem like a lot of sauce, but the pasta will absorb all of that deliciousness!
- Pasta: Spaghetti and angel hair are my favorites. Angel hair pasta cooks very fast, as we saw in the recipe for tomato chilli prawn pasta. You can also use penne or linguine.
How To Make Red Pesto Pasta- Step by step
- Boil water with salt in a deep pot. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta.
- Keep stirring the pasta every few minutes so they don’t clump together.
- Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain using a colander. Put the pasta back into the pot and toss with olive oil.
- Keep the pasta covered for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- This prevents the pasta from drying out.
- Add chilli pesto to the pasta and toss until well combined.
Tips To Make The Best Chilli Pesto Pasta
(The same instructions I mentioned in my easy spaghetti arrabbiata recipe. I’m repeating them here for your convenience.)
- Cooking time: depends on the type of pasta used. Always cook 2 minutes less than the time specified on the package.
- Al dente pasta: It means that the pasta is cooked tender enough to chew, but has a bite to it. The best way to test is to literally bite into a strand of spaghetti!
- Draining the pasta: You can use a colander to strain. Or scoop out the spaghetti using tongs. (It’s okay to have some water in the pasta, since you need it anyway when you mix in the sauce.)
- Pasta water: Reserve the pasta water. When you add the pesto to pasta, add a few spoons of pasta water. The starchy water will help bind the sauce to the pasta and keeps it from drying out. Pasta keeps absorbing water after it is cooked. So the longer you store it, the more water you’re going to need. If you’re making ahead or storing leftovers, store the pasta water in a separate container in the refrigerator. You’ll need it when you reheat the pasta.
Storing and Reheating
This pasta keeps well (as long as the pesto sauce) for about a week. If you want to store longer, freeze it. It can be frozen for about a month. As mentioned earlier, store the pasta water too. Before serving, sprinkle a few spoons of the water and heat in the microwave.
Warming up the pesto pasta: The red pesto can take heat better than the green one. That being said, DO NOT heat the pesto pasta until it is piping hot! Just warming it up is sufficient. This chili pesto also has basil that tends to turn bitter when overheated.
What Can You Add To Red Pesto Pasta
- A sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan.
- Roasted veggies like carrots, onions, zucchini, and pumpkin. You can roast them together with peppers and tomatoes when you make the pesto.
- Fresh (or dried) basil, parsley or cilantro.
- Make it a red pesto pasta salad by adding fresh veggies. (similar to Italian pasta salad and creamy pasta salad with chicken)
What To Serve With Red Pesto Pasta
Lemon garlic chicken and potatoes
Lemon balsamic chicken with rosemary sauce
Lemon coriander chicken with yogurt sauce
5-ingredient pan-fried prawns and peppers
Roasted beetroot salad with feta and walnuts for a healthy vegetarian meal.
More Pasta Recipes
Easy Spaghetti Arrabiata (6-ingredient sauce)
Simple Spinach Almond Pesto with Basil
Creamy Mushroom Zucchini Pasta (without cream!)
Roasted Garlic Pesto with Cashews and Mint
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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!
I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.
4 thoughts on “Easy Red Pesto Pasta with Chili Pesto”
Red chilli pesto has my name written all over it. I am so going to try your version of pesto pasta.
Thanks, Choclette! Please let me know how it turned out for you!
I’m all about easy meals and you don’t get much simpler than this. So much flavour in one dish too! Great recipe, thanks.
Yes, pesto pasta is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a quick and easy dinner! Thanks, Janice!