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« Grind Your Own Meat | Main | Italian Easter Bread, Revisited »

Sun-Dried Tomato No-Cook Sauce


I hope everyone had a nice Easter holiday. I was overwhelmed, once again, by how many people made the Italian Easter Breads.  I'm so glad so many of you enjoyed them and that your kids loved them.  Thanks for all the e-mails.  I baked so many desserts myself this past weekend and each once was special.  I made this fantastic cake from Sweetapolita, David Lebovitz's delicious lime tart and this pretty cheesecake.

I didn't want to post this recipe, but Brian made me do it.  This is one of his favorite sauces and he'll ask me from time to time if I've ever put it up on the blog.  And the answer has always been "no", because although we love this sauce, it's not much of a recipe and I didn't think it was blog-worthy.  Well, I've caved in and here it is.  

This sauce is a no-brainer.  It doesn't even require any cooking.  This is the sauce that you want to know how to make when:

1.  You have nothing defrosted for dinner.  
2.  It's a 95 degree summer day
3.  You're too tired to really do any cooking.
4.  You have to make something in a hurry.  Like 10 minutes.

No-Cook Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

this recipe will dress one pound of pasta, which will serve 6-8


  • a few chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 3 ounces
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil, about 8 ounces (do not drain)
  • 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • (optional - some red hot chile pepper, if you like it spicy)




Place the cheese in a food processor and process until coarsely ground.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor and process until you get the texture you like. I process it pretty finely.

I used Sagnarelli pasta for this dish.  You can use any shape pasta you like. 
Orecchiette is a favorite for this because it holds the sauce so well.


Toss with freshly cooked hot pasta.   Add a little hot pasta water to the pasta and sauce as you are tossing. Because of the amount of cheese already in the sauce, you really won't need additional cheese for grating. Generally, you don't need salt for this dish because the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is so salty.  Taste and adjust the seasoning according to what you like.


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Reader Comments (25)

Mamma mia...that looks molto bene! :) And I love the shape of the pasta. I've never seen it before.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Nova

Tell Brian he was right to insist on this recipe being posted. There is beauty in the simplicity of this undoubtedly rich, flavorful sauce and it should be shared.(In fact, I shared this post on my Facebook page.) I look forward to making the sauce sometime this week! Best wishes to you and your family from another Michigan gal...

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Wow! This is great! I love a delicious, quick sauce! Thanks!

I use that same brand of sun dried tomatoes!

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ambrosino

Thank You Brian, because I'm sure making this!

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I made the sweetbread and the nutella bread. Both were incredible. Everyone loved them. I may
only make the sweetbread for Easter but I know I'll be making the nutella bread very often.
Thanks for the wonderful recipies and the wonderful site. We all had a lovely Easter. I hope you
all did, as well.

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~*sleepy~eyes*~

i'm a new follower of your blog.
this look so great.
i'll be making some of your dishes periodically to surprise my dad. he's italian and would love all of these!!

April 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhat katie's baking

Grazie Elaine,

My Aunt Marisa gave me a similar recipe that can be prepared while the water is boiling for the pasta.

1 Can tomato paste;
1 Clove of garlic, minced;
Few tablespoons of olive oil; and
Few tablespoons of parsley.
Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

Pour cooked pasta into colander to remove most, but not all of the water.
Thoroughly toss pasta and sauce to completely dress pasta. The remaining water thins the sauce and helps cover the pasta.

Best wishes always,


April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGene

Of course this is "BLOG WORTHY"! Easy and delicious is always worth putting on your blog.

I make a no cook tomato sauce in the summer with garlic, cherry tomatoes from my garden and fresh basil & olive oil. I could eat it every night.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

I'm a new reader and this recipe is a fabulous start. I loveeee Giuseppe Cocco pasta, it's delicious. I have a jar of sun dried tomatoes and I'll be turning them into this sauce for dinner tonight. Mille grazia.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCinzia

Great recipe! What a nice twist on a traditional checca sauce, especially when fresh tomatoes are not readily available. Some cubed mozzarella might be a nice addition.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Lovely as always Elaine, there is beauty in simplicity, that's what Italians are great for. I had made something similar with the addition of chorizo sausages to appease my meat eating husband.
In 'Heat', a book by Bill Buford, it stated that Caterina de' Medici jump started the culinary revolution into France in 1533. She gave away all of Italy's kitchen secrets. She introduced lettuces, parsley, artichokes, pastries, custards, profiteroles, charcuterie, crepes, souffle, mayonnaise, pate, creme caramel, boudin noir, etc., and the fork for eating pasta.
Tutta la cucina e arrivata! Until Caterina de' Medici, there was no grand French cooking!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfaye

This sounds fantastic!! I'm definitely adding this to my summer arsenal! Thanks Elaine!!

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Hello, I found your lovely blog recently and this post looked so good that I made the sauce over the weekend. Molto bene. Grazie! This was definitely a recipe that deserved to be posted.

May 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Who couldn't use a quick pasta sauce like this!? Fabulous! Thanks, Brian!

I don't know why you were reluctant to post this - it's definitely blog worthy, especially since I've got a big jar of sun-dried tomatoes.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

My husband thanks your husband and encourages you to come clean with more non blog-worthy dishes.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

This looks yumptious! Definitely going to try.

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMinty

I just made this extremely simple and easy sauce! I'm thinking of putting it over fish, but shells will do for now! It's delicious!

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria D.

I am getting curious with this ingredients. This is my first time to see this and shapes of pasta are looks good. I'll give it a try because it looks yummy.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpet food

I'm a big fan of your blog, keep up the fantastic postings.
I have made this fantastic recipe three times now, its always delicious!
Just wanted to add that a few sage leaves instead of the basil works as an excellent substitute , I also add in a handful of cherry tomatoes to add in some veg to the meal
But the best thing is that even my hubby who doesn't eat tomatoes loves this :-)

Thanks again!

December 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjulih

I adore simple recipes! I have dried sun dried tomas, so what is the best way to modify the recipe?
thanks!!! i bet kalamata olives would be a good addition! Lov ur blog!

October 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercajeta

How long to you think this sauce would last in the fridge for?

April 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Wow this is looking so yummy and delicious. I love to share this yummy recipe with all my friends.

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMalin Andersson

I'm feeling really hungry now. Great
Authentic Italian food blog

July 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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