It’s been a good decade since sun-dried tomatoes were a staple in my pantry but that’s about to change as I’m a bit hooked these days 😉. I’m not sure if it’s their intense sweet-tart flavour, chewy texture or vivid colour but these sun-kissed beauties have wooed me back, lol. It all started during the holidays when my step sister (who graciously prepared a vegan-friendly Christmas dinner) included sun-dried tomatoes on the ‘menu’ for our create-your-own pizza meal. I grabbed just a few morsels — with hesitation — as I recall how tart and salty sun-dried tomatoes can be. Ironically the burst of flavour from those sun-dried tomatoes (not to mention the sinfully salty element of the tomatoes) perfectly balanced the fresh spinach, red onions and vegan mozzarella shreds I generously topped on my pizza. It’s funny how such a simple, classic meal can set you on course to rediscover food flavours and textures. Today I’m thrilled to share one of my favourite pasta dishes to date: Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce.
If you’re a former sun-dried tomato lover, present devotee or have a hate-on for these sun-kissed beauties I urge you to give this sauce a try (haters, you won’t be disappointed!) There’s no denying the flavour is BOLD but it’s the kind of boldness you’ll thank me for, lol. The mild flavour of the sautéed red onions and spinach complements the burst of sweet-tart flavour from the sun-dried tomatoes. The addition of creamy coconut milk and savoury parmesan cheese balances the sweetness and tartness of the sun-dried tomatoes. This sauce, put simply, screams FLAVOUR….so much so that you may just want to ask your dinner guests if they’d like some pasta with that sauce, lol.
I used the dry-packed variety of sun-dried tomatoes as this is what I had on hand but the recipe can easily be adapted for the oil-packed variety. If using the latter simply drain the tomatoes of oil before using (and of course, reserve the oil and use where the recipe calls for oil). If you are using the dry-packed variety remember to hydrate them in water so they ‘plump’ up before using. When I first started cooking with the dry-packed variety I made the mistake of using them straight out of the package and let’s just say this resulted in an epic fail 😛.
- 1/Make one batch of Savoury Parmesan Cheese
- 2/Cook pasta until al dente (1 lb/454g is recommended for this recipe)
- 3/Rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes: Boil water. Cover sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water (to cover). Let sit for 2 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
- Sun-dried tomatoes (182g) (I used the dry-packed variety which is more economical)
- 2 garlic cloves or 1 Russian garlic clove (5g)
- Fresh spinach (35g)
- Small red onion, thinly sliced(30g)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (30g)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil (<5g)
- 1 cup vegetable broth (1 cup water/210g + 1 tsp/5g vegetable bouillon powder)
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (220g)
- 1/2 cup Savoury Parmesan Cheese (75g) (see recipe link above)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt (>5g)
- 1/Add garlic, spinach and a pinch of salt to your Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- 2/Add sliced red onion, olive oil, dried basil and rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes to the TM bowl. Sauté 3 min/120C/Speed 1. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Blend 10 sec/Speed 6.
- 3/Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and salt to the TM bowl. Cook 3 min/100C/Speed 1.
Note: You will have excess parmesan cheese…it can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or reserved for topping on the sauce.
- 4/Replace mixing bowl lid with simmering basket. Simmer 3 min/85C/Speed 1. Taste and adjust seasonings as required. Your sauce is now ready.
- 5/Pour the prepared sauce over plated pasta. Top with reserved parmesan cheese (if desired). Serve immediately.
Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance; however, it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. multi-function processor, immersion blender etc).