I am old enough to remember when sun-dried tomatoes first fell out of fashion. They were everywhere: in savoury pastries, grilled chicken pasta dishes, mashed into cheese spreads, and then — suddenly — they were gone, gauche, unwelcome.
But I have always liked them. They’re sweet, tangy, and packed with umami, and they have a certain mid-90s elegance about them, like dirty a martini. They taste good, and I’m tired of people pretending like they don’t.
At least one other person seems to feel this way. Emma Laperruque has not only included the dried love apples as part of her creamy, cheesy pasta recipe, she’s moved them front and centre. Her pasta sauce is comprised of exactly two ingredients — cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes — and honestly? It fucks.
It almost seems too simple, as it’s just as easy as making a box of Kraft mac and cheese. Chop some sun-dried tomatoes, mash them into cream cheese, then thin it out with heavily salted pasta water before tossing the mixture with your pasta shape of choice. Laperruque also fries some capers in the tomato oil for a crunchy topping, which I would have done had I not been out of capers (sad!).
The sauce is creamy and delicious, thanks to those flavour-packed sun-dried tomatoes. It’s good all on its own, but it’s an excellent base for a protein of your choice (go with grilled salmon or chicken for a true 90s vibe), or any roasted vegetable. I made it twice, and the second time I added even more sun-dried tomatoes, because I love them so much. The 90s are back, baby, and this pasta sauce proves it.
Sun-dried tomato pasta sauce (very slightly adapted from Food52)
- 240 ml pasta of your choice
- 120 ml full-fat cream cheese
- 85 g sun-dried tomatoes
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes finely, then mash them into your cream cheese and set aside. Add the pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, reserving a cup of the starchy, salty water.
Add a 1/4 of the water to the cream cheese mixture and mix to thin. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce, adding more water if needed to thin it, keeping in mind it will thicken a little as it cools. Serve immediately with lots of fresh basil, the crispy capers from the original recipe, or your favourite protein and/or vegetable.