The irony of this post is that it has taken me a Whole Lot Longer to find time (and, you know, 2 hands) to type it than it did to actually make and consume. Pesto pasta is a great summer meal since it’s ready in the time it takes to cook the noodles, which is a plus in my book (even when I’m not holding/wearing/feeding a newborn)!
So: start the water to cook your pasta. Whip up the pesto (or you can buy it – but it really does only take 5 minutes).
Heat up a skillet with olive oil and toss in cherry or grape tomatoes. Let them cook for a few minutes with salt and pepper until their skins begin to split and burst. (Even if you’re not exactly paying attention, you’ll hear them start to sizzle more earnestly as their juices leak out!)
See how some of the skins have split open? Keep going until all the tomatoes have burst. They don’t continue cooking when you add the pasta, so don’t be afraid of overcooking them.
Drain the pasta, and save some of the cooking water! It’s the perfect thing to toss with the pasta + pesto to smooth things out and help it all get coated. I added a few tablespoons of it right to the skillet to deglaze it and get all that good tomato flavor, then dumped in the pasta and added dollops of pesto, tossing everything gently together. Taste a noodle or two and adjust if you need to (more pesto, more cooking water, salt and pepper…), then serve it with an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!
I love the sweet summer tomatoes with the intense flavors of the pesto – so much basil, so much salty Parm, a little punch of garlic – yum. We ate it as a meatless meal, but pesto pasta is also a great side dish to serve with grilled chicken (or cook some quick and easy pan-seared chicken, right in the skillet before the tomatoes, and slice it up on top of the pasta).Print
- 6 oz of pasta (I used whole wheat spirals)
- 1 recipe basil pesto (you’ll probably have some left over, depending on how generous you are with it!) or storebought pesto
- olive oil
- cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a little less than a pint)
- salt and pepper
- extra Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
- Bring salted water to a boil. Make the pesto. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- About halfway through the pasta cooking time, heat a large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two or olive oil. Add the tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and let them cook for several minutes until their skins begin to split and burst (you’ll hear increased sizzling as this happens).
- Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Add a few tablespoons of the water directly to the skillet with the cooked tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits.
- Add the cooked pasta and several dollops of pesto and gently toss to coat the pasta. Add more cooking water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to help the pesto spread out evenly. Taste and add salt and pepper and/or more pesto if needed.
- Serve with extra Parmesan cheese!
This is a great meatless meal, but it’s also good with cooked chicken tossed in with the pasta, or as a side dish to any meat!