Creamy sun-dried tomato pasta, packed with flavour, easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes. Penne pasta in the creamiest garlic and cheese sauce with tender sun-dried tomatoes, fresh baby spinach and toasty pine nuts.
3cloves ofgarlicfinely grated or put through a garlic press
12sun-dried tomatoes from a jar in oil. Sliced into thin strips.
250g(2 and ¼ cups) penne pasta (dry weight)
300ml(1 and ¼ cups) double/heavy cream
45g(½ cup grated) hard Italian cheesefinely grated + more for serving
Asmall pinch of grated nutmeg
90g(3 cups) baby spinach
4 or 5leaves of fresh basiltorn
¼tspfreshly ground black pepper+ more to serve
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.Add the chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Cook over medium heat stirring often until the onion is soft, this can take at least 15 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions.Now is also the time to toast the pine nuts if you are using them. Do this by frying them in a dry pan until they are golden then set them aside until you are ready to use them.
Once the onion is soft add ½ teaspoon of dried oregano, to the onion along with the 3 cloves of garlic and cook for a minute.Now add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir them into the onions.
Next slowly pour in about 300ml (1 and ¼ cup) of double (heavy) cream.Add 45g (½ a cup) of grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. Once the cheese has melted stir in a pinch of grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.Take 3 or 4 tablespoons of water form the cooking pasta and stir it into the sauce.
Now add the spinach to the sauce. Stir it into the sauce until it is wilted.Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce. And stir in the chopped basil.Serve immediately topped with the toasted pine nuts and some more grated cheese.
Veggie Swaps– Try adding mushrooms, courgettes (zucchini), broccoli or peas.
Pasta – I used penne pasta for this. Fusilli or Rotini work great as does linguine, spaghetti or tagliatelle.
Cream – I use double cream (heavy cream) for this dish, this gave the best results. You could swap the cream for light cream cheese or mascarpone if you want to switch it up a bit.
Cheese - I used Pecorino cheese for this recipe, any vegetarian parmesan style cheese will work well.
Sun-dried tomatoes – if you can, choose good quality sundried tomatoes the kind you find in the deli counter or in jars filled with oil.
Pine nuts – These are optional you can swap them for walnuts or almonds if you want. Or you could also swap the pine nuts for toasted breadcrumbs instead. The pine nuts are not an essential ingredient to this dish so if you want to omit them altogether you can.
Pro-Tip– To remove the excess oil from the sun-dried tomatoes place each tomato flat on a chopping board. Use the back of a kitchen knife and scrape the tomato from the top to the bottom to remove the oil.
Pro-Tip – Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the water from the cooking pasta to your sauce, this will add more flavour to your sauce help it thicken and help the sauce stick to your pasta.
Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving and does not include extra cheese for serving.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.