I always have a jar of pesto sitting in my refrigerator. It’s the perfect condiment to have around and can bring together meals in a snap – I use it in everything from soups, as a pasta sauce, roasting meats and vegetables with, and even stir a dollop into my ratatouille base (have you tried this? You need to try this).

This recipe is a slight riff on a pesto rosso or pesto made with sun-dried tomatoes and almonds in place of pine nuts. Basil would normally be the standard herb of choice in both versions, but I decided to go with coriander (there is a touch of basil, but mostly coriander). Albeit an unconventional choice in a pesto, coriander and tomato are used together in most—if not all—Indian dishes, and we know that they are a great pairing. In a sauce with the bold notes of Parmesan and olive oil, though? I wasn’t too sure.

I’d be lying if I told you that this was my intended plan from the beginning. I set out to make a traditional pesto rosso—using basil. It was only after I had my tomatoes dried and ready to go that I realized my basil plants had suffered a minor heat stroke thanks to the soaring temperatures here in Chennai. Two stalks were all I could salvage. So..coriander? There was the risk of it being too herbal and grassy (?), but I wouldn’t know until I tried it. The fact that I’ve made this pesto twice since, is testament to how well that little experiment panned out!

I threw in a green chilli for heat, and the nuts in question can be any kind you like. I went with a combination of cashew nuts, walnuts and almonds this time, but I switch it up based on whatever I have on hand/I’m in the mood for. And that’s exactly what I would recommend you do.

 

 

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OVEN-DRIED TOMATO AND CORIANDER PESTO
Servings
about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 6 large tomatoes, chopped into 2”X2” pieces
  • 1 cup fresh coriander stalks and leaves
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, cashews and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil (for roasting tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
Servings
about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 6 large tomatoes, chopped into 2”X2” pieces
  • 1 cup fresh coriander stalks and leaves
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, cashews and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil (for roasting tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 140 C (280 F) and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  2. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and lay them out on a single layer in the oven. Roast until slightly dry but still juicy, about 3-4 hours. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the nuts and garlic clove to a blender jar and blend to a coarse paste. Add oven-dried tomatoes, chilli, coriander leaves and stalks, basil leaves, parmesan, lemon juice, salt and olive oil and pulse (not continuously blend) a few times.
  4. Scrape down the sides and pulse again until it forms a slightly coarse paste. If it looks too dry, add extra olive oil.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use right away or refrigerate in an airtight container and use within a week.

 

 

 

 

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