We eat a lot of pesto in our house, and not just on pasta. As I mentioned in a previous blogpost (here), it can be used in a multitude of ways, as a deliciously different pizza base, in sandwiches and wraps, even smeared over a roast chicken. I'd never thought about different types of pesto though, but it turns out that it's not just Thai curry and traffic lights that can be red or green, it's Sacla' pesto too ! When I was offered a jar of Sacla's Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto to review, that was a definite no-brainer - we jumped at the chance !
Sacla’ describe this version of their classic pesto as "mellow but intense" and "a sauce that boasts Ligurian basil, Italian sun-dried tomatoes, grana padano cheese and crushed pine kernels". I’d describe it as a fabulous shortcut to getting a rapid but tasty supper on a plate and, in fact, it is so delicious that I can't help but eat a few spoonfuls straight out of the jar as I'm cooking or reheating the pasta !
I thought it would be a bit bland and boring compared to green pesto and figured I'd want to add in some bacon and maybe mushrooms and peppers to give it a more interesting flavour but there is no need, it's absolutely delicious as it is. The tomato flavour really packs a punch (presumably as it's a mix of tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes) and the extra ingredients of basil, cashew nuts, red peppers, Grana Padano Cheese, Pecorino Romano Cheese and garlic give it a lovely intense flavour. All it needs is a generous sprinkling of parmesan on top for the perfect pasta dish, but according to the website, it's also great in soups, gravy and casseroles.
It's slightly high on calories, with 100g containing 289 calories and 27.9g of fat, but these interesting facts about sun-dried tomatoes show that they could actually give your health a boost. Did you know (I didn't !) that :
- It takes 8 kilos/20 pounds of fresh tomatoes to make one pound of sun-dried tomatoes
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which may help protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease
- One medium sun-dried tomato can provide 40% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C
- A diet rich in tomato-based foods has been linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer
- Sun-dried tomatoes are low in fat, calories & sodium, and free from saturated fat & cholesterol
- Sun-dried tomatoes are high in vitamin A and a good source of potassium
If you want to do more than just slather it all over pasta (or eat it straight out of the jar !), here's a recipe suggestion courtesy of Sacla'.
Fusilli with Sacla’ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto & Crispy Pancetta
75g frozen petits pois
70g thinly sliced pancetta
300ml crème fraîche
4 rounded tblsp Sacla' Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
1 heaped tblsp roughly chopped Italian parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the pasta and cook the fusilli according to the pack instructions, throwing the peas in for the last couple of minutes.
Dice and fry the pancetta in a pan until really crispy. Then remove from the pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
Then, to make the sauce, combine the crème frâiche and pesto in a small pan and gently heat through for a few moments, stirring to mix well. Add 4 tablespoons of water and season, stir again until hot.
Drain the pasta and peas in a colander. Transfer to a warm serving dish, stir the sauce through the pasta, scatter over the pancetta and parsley and serve straightaway for a super speedy supper.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £1.99 for 190g, £3.09 for 290g
for more information : http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/3-sun-dried-tomato-pesto
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