Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes

This quick and delicious pasta dish is the perfect way to use up a summer bounty of basil and tomatoes!

Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes
Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes

Don’t have a green thumb? Never fear! You can knock out this classic pasta dish in no time with a jar of prepared pesto sauce.

tomato halves surrounded by basil leaves and peppercorns
tomato halves surrounded by basil leaves and peppercorns

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. spaghetti or linguine pasta
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus 4-8 reserved leaves for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts or blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tbsp. for garnish.
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Variation: Got no time, or no fresh basil? Use a 6 ounce jar of prepared pesto instead.

Directions

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Salt the water generously and add the pasta.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the pesto.
    • Remove stems from basil leaves.
    • Put the basil, garlic, and pine nuts or almonds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse it a few times to chop them up.
    • Then, turn the food processor on and slowly pour the olive oil through the feeder tube to blend with the chopped herbs and nuts.
    • Process until all ingredients are fully blended, stopping the food processor to scrape down the sides occasionally to get it all mixed.
    • Turn off the food processor, and add the salt and Parmesean, then pulse a few times to blend.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the 1/2 tsp. olive oil to the heated skillet.
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes to the skillet and let them blister, stirring occasionally and gently so they don’t burst.
  6. Remove tomatoes from the pan and set aside.
  7. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  8. Return the pasta to the pot
  9. Add the reserved cooking water and pesto to the pasta and stir to mix
  10. Plate the pasta and add 6-8 tomatoes to each plate
  11. Garnish with reserved basil leaves and Parmesean and serve. Buon Appetito!

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