With a fresh pop of tomato and basil, this 20-minute tomato pesto pasta is one of our favorite pasta dishes, which is perfect since it’s so easy to whip up on a busy weeknight!
If there’s ever been a meal I want you to drop what you are doing and make, it’s this one. I’m not kidding. It’s incredible. Like, one of my favorite pasta dishes ever.
Maybe it’s because of the garden fresh tomatoes. Or the fresh basil (I’ve professed my love for that delicious herb over and over).
Maybe it’s because it literally only takes 15-20 minutes to get on the table. Or because it’s because pasta makes my soul sing.
All I know is, that’s a lot of maybes and a lot of reasons to make this fast and delicious pesto pasta dish.
This quick, homemade pesto is a little different than regular ol’ pesto thanks to the juicy, fresh tomatoes thrown in there…along with a few other things that make it pretty special.
Since pine nuts lately require a small private loan to afford, the toasted, slivered almonds in this recipe are a pleasant surprise and absolutely delicious (as in, I might make pesto with slivered almonds forevermore).
And because I believe fresh basil and Parmesan cheese can do no wrong together, they further amp up the deliciousness of the saucy pesto smothering the tender noodles.
This meal is seriously as simple as throwing the pesto ingredients together in the food processor while the noodles boil and then tossing it all together.
Except, don’t skip toasting the almonds. I know some of you will be tempted, but that easy 2-minute step is going to add some delicious flavor, so just do it, ok?
I really didn’t think something so fast and easy could reach this level of deliciousness, but I was wrong. As an FYI, the leftovers were crazy tasty straight out of the fridge for lunch the next day.
A super way to use up garden fresh tomatoes and basil, this meal is going to be on heavy rotation for the rest of forever (except for those months when fresh basil is scarce and I go into deep mourning).
20-Minute Tomato Pesto Pasta
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 10 to 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 to 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 medium garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti noodles
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to package directions.
- While the noodles are boiling, toast the almonds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly golden and fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds, tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again until the mixture is mostly smooth (there will be small bits of almonds but everything else should be pretty smooth). With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and mix for 20-30 seconds. Set aside.
- Drain the noodles and return to the pot.
- Pour over the pesto sauce, add the Parmesan cheese, and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately with extra Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.
Don’t skip toasting those almonds! It adds a delicious depth of flavor that you don’t want to miss.
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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Jodi at 5BoysBaker, originally from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011