Cherry Tomato Pesto

img_3685This long stretch of hot dry weather has left me with an embarrassment of cherry tomatoes. Though nothing’s quite as satisfying as a ripe tomato hot off the vine, I’ve discovered a pesto that freezes beautifully and keeps the cherry’s bright summery taste alive right into the winter months. The recipe (from Bon Appetit) calls for walnuts, anchovies, and basil (and luckily I have bushels of lemon basil on my hands right now, as well). I’ve also made it without the anchovies, adding extra salt to help balance the tastes.

I think this pesto is as rich and satisfying as a Bolognese sauce — a hearty and healthy meatless entrée. Buon appetito!

Ingredients

Servings: 4

  • ⅔ cup walnuts
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oil-packed anchovies, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • ½ cup (packed) basil leaves

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
  • Heat broiler. Toss tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Broil, tossing once, until tomatoes are blistered and have released some of their liquid, 5–7 minutes. Let cool.
  • Pulse anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and ½ oz. Parmesan in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and half of tomatoes, then, with motor running, stream in ⅓ cup oil; process just until combined. Season with salt. Transfer pesto to a large bowl and stir in black pepper.
  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
  • Transfer pasta to bowl with pesto and add a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Toss, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Add basil and remaining tomatoes.
  • Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan and black pepper and drizzle with oil.
  • Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.  You can freeze it, too, for at least three months — and maybe more — but mine never lasts that long!

 

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7 Responses to Cherry Tomato Pesto

  1. Cheryl Sullivan says:

    Wonderful ! Tomatoes are so healthy for us as well.

  2. Lorraine Tinget says:

    Sounds wonderful!

  3. Beata M. Newman Scarpulla says:

    It sounds absolutely yummy!

    Beata

  4. Jackie Wein says:

    Those cherry tomatoes are so inviting. So inviting that I’d just wash them off and eat them straight!

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