Make Ahead

Cherry Tomato Pesto

August 15, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

When the cherry tomatoes are ripe and get that intense flavor of summer I love to come up with different uses for them. This is an uncooked sauce that can be tossed with any type of pasta. We used it for spaghetti. It has a brightness from the fresh tomatoes and basil and a rich nuttiness from the walnuts. Great for all ages! - Carrie Cowan —Carrie Cowan

Test Kitchen Notes

What an interesting departure from my comfortable and exclusive world of pine nuts and basil pesto. By using walnuts and tomatoes as the stars of the show, this pesto becomes lighter and brighter. But keeping the Parmesan and basil around gives the sauce a familiarity which ensured it's easy recognition and warm welcome at our dinner table. The next time this gets made for dinner (oh, and it WILL be made again), I will probably roast the garlic for just a few minutes to take a little of the edge off the sauce which, because it is so much less dense than a traditional pesto, lets the raw garlic creep up a little too close to the main characters. What a fun and easy -- that's always key in my house -- dish. I might add some leftover chicken and enjoy it as a main course. Yummy! - Niknud —Niknud

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • basil for garnish
  • parmesan cheese for topping
  1. Combine basil, oil, parmesan, walnuts, tomatoes, garlic, and salt in the food processor.
  2. Pulse until the sauce is smooth, about two minutes.
  3. Cook 1 lb. of pasta according to the package directions and drain.
  4. Toss the pesto with the hot, cooked pasta.
  5. Serve with more basil and parmesan cheese on top.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Adelucchi
  • Mystery Cook
    Mystery Cook
  • Nadia Hassani
    Nadia Hassani
  • Niknud
  • Ms. T
    Ms. T

8 Reviews

Adelucchi September 28, 2011
My neighbor told me about this recipe, gave me fresh cherry tomatoes and basil to try it. I did and it was delish!! Thanks neighbors!

Bootcamp Alma
Mystery C. September 6, 2011
This sounds delicious. I picked up some tomatoes from my grandma's garden and now I know just what to do with them :))) I'll try it today for dinner and let you know.
Katiasama August 31, 2011
Man is this recipe fast! You can't beat it for that. The pesto has a nice, bright flavor with the addition of the tomatoes. It was a bit chunky from the walnuts but I didn't mind this. I love recipes that manage to bring together a few great ingredients in a flash, and this pesto is a great way to showcase the best of summer.
Nadia H. August 26, 2011
I just made this, with little adjustments, and it is very good. The cherry tomatoes were so juicy I was afraid it would turn out too soupy if processed too long. So I started with pulsing the tomatoes only, about a dozen times, until they were rather chunky, and put them in a bowl. Then I lightly toasted the walnuts and pulsed them on their own, added them to the tomatoes. Then I processed all the other ingredients in the food processor (used extra-virgin olive oil). This will make a wonderful bruschetta topping too. A keeper!
Niknud August 25, 2011
This looks amazing - I'm so excited to get to review it! I'm stopping on my way home to pick up some walnuts and we're going to have it for dinner tonight. My garden is exploding with basil and tomatoes so I'm extra happy!
Ms. T. August 16, 2011
What a simple and delicious way to showcase these ingredients. Can't wait to try this!
sexyLAMBCHOPx August 16, 2011
this appeals to me very much. good job!
vvvanessa August 16, 2011
that sounds perfect!