Campanelle is a flower shaped pasta that is perfect for hearty and chunky sauces which makes it the ideal for this rustic sauce. The pesto is definitely key to taste of this dish. So make it fresh and store enough for future use. If you have the sun dried tomato pesto pre-made, this pasta takes under 15 minutes to make!
Sun dried tomato pesto
This is my variation of pesto which turned out to be a keeper!
1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, roughly chopped (drain most of the oil- keep 1 tbsp to add in the pesto)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1/2 cup pecarino cheese, grated or shredded
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1 tbsp large capers
1 tbsp pine nuts
6-8 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few seconds until all the ingredients combine together coarsely. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue pulsing until you get a thick coarse paste. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes and mix it in to keep it chunky and to give a bite to the otherwise smooth dish.
For the Pasta
1 pound campanelle pasta (substitute: fusili, gemelli or shells)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus, the thick bottom part snapped off
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tbsp crushed red peppers
1/2 cup sun dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup light cream
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add sliced onions and crushed red peppers. Saute until the onions are cooked(they turn translucent). Add the asparagus, salt and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the sun dried tomato pesto, mix and just after a minute stir in the cream, remaining basil and shut the heat off.
Add the cooked pasta mix well and serve. I served it with shaved pecarino cheese on top and side of my favorite roasted garlic sourdough bread.