Red pesto: delicious flavors, Mediterranean colors

Intense, fragrant, creamy... red pesto is one of Italy’s most distinctive sauces.
Task: capture the essence of Italy in a sauce.

Method: take classic Genoese pesto, with its intense fragrance of fresh basil. Add one of Italy’s most famous products: tomatoes. They can be in pulp form, or dried and bashed into a paste. Mix the ingredients.

Result: a brightly colored sauce that’s fragrant and tasty and that can transport us to Italy in an instant. Let’s learn more about red pesto!

The art of pesto

When we talk about pesto, the first thing that springs to mind is Genoese pesto: a creamy and green sauce created by combining quality, raw ingredients.

But if you go elsewhere in Italy, you’ll find countless other types of pesto: pesto trapanese, pesto calabrese, red pesto... and there have even been some non-traditional versions in recent times made with things like rocket, eggplant and zucchini.

All of these recipes are linked by the verb “pestare”, which means “to pound”. It’s a repetitive process which requires time and attention and which should be done manually using a pestle and mortar (made of wood or stone, depending on your local traditions). This technique allows you to grind all of the ingredients and bring them together in order to create a paste which can be more easily preserved.
It’s a technique that unites Italy from north to south and that creates a balanced mixture, where all the ingredients express the best of their characteristics.
Red Genoese Pesto – Fratelli Carli

A quintessentially Italian tradition

Pesto sauces are one of the oldest parts of Italy’s culinary traditions. They are so deeply rooted, so commonly found across the entire country, that Italy has even created the National Pesto Sauces Day to celebrate them. It’s held on 12 September every year.

The oldest written reference to a form of pesto sauce is attributed to Virgil, who mentioned moretum, a sauce prepared by Roman peasants in a mortar (the moretarium) using simple ingredients like garlic, cheese, herbs, salt, oil and vinegar.

Garlic and vinegar were key ingredients in pesto sauces for a long time, on account of the usefulness in keeping foods from going off.
Red Pesto recipes – Fratelli Carli


The introduction of different preservation techniques and the gradual refinement of tastes saw pesto recipes change and evolve over time: the amount of garlic was reduced to free up space for other, more delicate ingredients, such as dried fruits, until we eventually happened upon the typical recipes that are so widely loved and consumed to this day.
It was from one of these recipes, and from the ingredients which best encapsulates the colors and flavors of Liguria, that our very own Red Pesto was born.

Red pesto? Here’s how we make it

Fratelli Carli Red Pesto is a delicious sauce created thanks to the perfectly balanced combination of ingredients and colors which symbolize the traditions of the Mediterranean: the green of the pesto, the white of the Mediterranean pine nuts and the red of the tomato pulp and Sun-Dried Tomatoes which make this sauce so unique, bright and intense. In a word, our red pesto is quintessentially Italian.

The distinctive feature of the sauce is the fine grinding of virtually all the ingredients, apart from the Sun-Dried Tomatoes, which are left in larger chunks in order to add interest and create a different texture in the mouth.

Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil enriches this recipe, bringing all of the flavors together and giving our pesto a more persistent flavor and a more brilliant color.
By perfectly combining the ingredients, we are able to bring a creamy and versatile sauce to your table.
Once you've tasted it, you’ll want to try it straight away. So how do you prepare it? Don’t worry! Fratelli Carli Red Pesto is ready to use and requires no additional ingredients.

A sauce or a spreadable paste? Our top tips for the kitchen

What’s the best way to use our Red Pesto? The answer is: however you please! This is a uniquely versatile sauce which allows you to experiment with lots of different ideas in the kitchen.

Here’s how we like to use it:
  • heat a few spoonfuls of our Red Pesto and serve with Turkey skewers to add flavor to meat;
  • make the perfect dressing for a Seasonal sardine salad by combining our Red Pesto with extra virgin olive oil – it’s a great way of finishing this dish!
  • use our Red Pesto to stuff Mini mozzarella calzoni – this secret ingredient will give them an intense flavor!
Red Pesto with basil – Fratelli Carli
Try our Red Pesto with a plate of pasta: an ultra-simple and quick recipe which you’ll quickly fall in love with!