Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes is an easy, delicious dish that’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal. This recipe is great to make during the summer when basil and tomatoes are at their peak, but can easily be made all year long.
Pasta: I used farfalle pasta, but also love fusilli, rigatoni, spaghetti and penne for pesto sauce.
Tomatoes: Grape, cherry or cocktail tomatoes would all work well in this recipe. You certainly don’t need multi-colored tomatoes.
Nuts: Pine nuts are obviously the classic choice for pesto, but feel free to substitute with walnuts, almonds or pistachios.
Pesto: If you want to save time, use your favorite store-bought pesto.
Step by Step Instructions
First, toast the pine nuts. This can be done on the stove top or in the oven. Then, roast the tomatoes at 400F until they’re softened and start to burst. Next, cook the pasta and reserve some pasta water.
While the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto. Grind the nuts and the garlic together in a food processer, then add the basil leaves. Slowly stream in olive oil while blending. Lastly, stir in the parmesan cheese and lemon.
Toss the cooked pasta with the pesto and tomatoes. Add pasta water to thin, as desired. It’s as simple as that. Buon appetito!
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- I suggest you make extra pesto to have on hand for quick weeknight meal. If you’re planning to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese and lemon. Double or triple the recipe, and store the extra in glass jars. Top them off with some oil, just to coat, and they will freeze beautifully for up to at least 4 months. Otherwise, you can store the jars in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
- Tweak this recipe based on what ingredients you have on hand. Try different combinations of herbs or nuts. You could even add chicken or shrimp to this dish, or leave out the tomatoes.
I do not recommend cooking the pesto and pasta together over the stove as I would for most other pasta dishes. Simply stir together the hot pasta with the pesto in your serving bowl. Stir in a little reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Pesto can also be used in a cold pasta salad.
I use roughly 1 to 1 ¼ cups of pesto per pound of pasta. You can adjust this to your personal taste.
This post is also available as a web story.
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Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes is an easy, delicious dish that’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal. It’s a favorite summer pasta in my house.
- 1lb farfalle pasta, or pasta of choice
- 3 cups (1lb) grape or cherry tomatoes, whole or halved, if large (I used heirloom)
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 cups (2 bunches) basil leaves, loosely packed
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Toast pine nuts: To toast pine nuts, add them to a small, cold pan. Turn heat to medium. Toss frequently as nuts gently toast, for about 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and golden, being cautious not to burn. You can also toast them in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes.
- Roast tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt. Toss to coat. Roast for 6-12 minutes or until tomatoes are blistered and starting to burst, rotating pan half way through.
- Cook pasta: While tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving one cup of pasta water.
- Make pesto: While the tomatoes and pasta are cooking, combine nuts and garlic in a food processor or high quality blender, and pulse until finely ground. Add basil, season lightly with salt and drizzle in a small amount of oil. Process until finely chopped, but do not over-process. Stream in ¾ cup of olive oil slowly while blending until a thick paste forms. Add cheese and pulse to combine. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- Toss pasta and enjoy: Add hot pasta to a bowl with pesto a couple tablespoons of pasta water, as needed to thin sauce, and stir to combine. Stir in roasted tomatoes. Enjoy.
Other good pasta choice include fusilli, rigatoni, penne and spaghetti.
I usually use all red tomatoes. There is no need for multi-colored tomatoes.
If you don’t want to turn on the oven, you can place the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook them until they start to burst and release juices.
You can use almonds, walnuts or pistachios instead of pine nuts. For any of these nuts, toast at 350F for 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring half way through. Cool completely before using.
Use domestic parmesan cheese if you can’t find the Italian variety.
Use 1 to 1 ¼ cups of store-bought pesto to save time.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Roast, boil
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: ⅙ of pasta
- Calories: 680
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 130mg
- Fat: 43g
- Saturated Fat: 7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 36g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 63g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 5mg
Keywords: pesto pasta with tomatoes, pesto pasta, pasta with pesto and tomatoes