Roasted Tomato & Pesto Pasta

There is nothing better than an easy pasta dish that you can quickly throw together for a weeknight dinner. This delicious and healthy pasta dish is super comforting when served warm, but on a hot summer day, it can even be served cold as a tasty pasta salad. Every bite is bursting with flavor from the roasted tomatoes, red bell pepper, basil, and pine nuts. Enjoy!


 

Roasted Tomato & Pesto Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. cherry tomatoes

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, separated

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • ½ pound dried pasta, bite-sized shape (I used fusilli)

  • 8 oz. pesto

  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and arrange the tomatoes cut side up in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes lightly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake the tomatoes for 90 minutes until they are dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside until needed.

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion and bell pepper until softened, about four minutes. Add the zucchini, and continue to sauté until the zucchini softens. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the pesto to the vegetables along with a splash of pasta water (start with ¼ cup and add more if needed) to loosen up the pesto. Reserve another cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and crushed red pepper flakes and toss to combine. If needed, add additional pasta water to thin out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh basil.

Cook’s Note: This dish can be served hot or cold. For a cold preparation, I recommend making the dish as described but omitting the Parmesan cheese. Then, before serving, shave large pieces of Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta salad.

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