Recipes Pesto Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes: A Culinary Delight for All Seasons

Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes is a classic Italian dish that combines the vibrant flavors of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese with the sweetness of ripe cherry tomatoes. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed hot or cold, as a main course or a side dish.

The origins of pesto can be traced back to the Liguria region of Italy, where it was traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. The name "pesto" comes from the Italian word "pestare," which means "to pound." Today, pesto is made in a variety of ways, but the basic ingredients remain the same.

Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes is a quick and easy dish to make, and it’s a great way to use up fresh summer produce. The cherry tomatoes add a burst of sweetness and color to the dish, and they pair perfectly with the savory pesto.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried pasta (such as penne, rotini, or fusilli)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor or blender, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic. Process until smooth.
  3. Drain the pasta and add it to a large bowl. Add the pesto and cherry tomatoes to the bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Tips:

  • For the best flavor, use fresh basil leaves. If you can’t find fresh basil, you can substitute dried basil, but use only about 1/4 cup.
  • Pine nuts can be expensive, so you can substitute other nuts, such as walnuts or almonds.
  • If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can make the pesto by hand. Simply chop the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic very finely and then stir in the olive oil.
  • You can add other vegetables to this dish, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms.
  • Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes can be served hot or cold. It’s a great dish to make ahead of time and take to picnics or potlucks.

Variations:

  • Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta: Substitute sun-dried tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes.
  • Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta: Roast a red bell pepper and add it to the pesto.
  • Lemon Pesto Pasta: Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the pesto.
  • Spicy Pesto Pasta: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pesto.
  • Creamy Pesto Pasta: Add a splash of cream to the pesto.

Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes: A Versatile Dish for Any Occasion

Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It’s a great main course for a light summer meal, or it can be served as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. It’s also a great dish to make ahead of time and take to picnics or potlucks.

No matter how you serve it, pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes is sure to please everyone at the table. It’s a delicious and easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re using fresh basil, be sure to wash it thoroughly before using it.
  • To toast the pine nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
  • If you don’t have Parmesan cheese, you can substitute another hard cheese, such as Asiago or Romano.
  • If you’re making the pesto ahead of time, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze the pesto, spoon it into ice cube trays and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
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