After thoroughly enjoying a cold pasta salad doused in pesto and dotted with cherry tomatoes, I wondered how the pairing would be warm. Thus, I created this easy recipe that combines hot linguine with homemade pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes.
It's flavorful, rustic, and decadent — without being too heavy for a balmy Summer night. What makes this dish so special is the addition of garlicky toasted breadcrumbs. They provide an unexpected but welcome contrast in texture from the chewy linguine and juicy tomatoes.
Photos: Nicole Perry
- Kosher salt
Heaping 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/3 pound linguine
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup pesto
Parmesan shavings, for garnish
Basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Add the halved tomatoes to the half-sheet pan, generously drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt; toss to coat, then spread out into a single even layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until softened.
- Meanwhile, cook the linguine until al dente, according to the instructions on the packaging. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water.
- Meanwhile, add the panko, minced garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a large pinch of salt to a small skillet; whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are deeply toasted and fragrant.
- Toss the pasta with the pesto and a few tablespoons of starchy pasta water. Add more pesto or pasta water, if necessary. You want the pasta to be coated with a nice, smooth layer of pesto. Add the tomatoes and about half of the breadcrumbs. Gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan shavings and basil chiffonade, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more breadcrumbs (you may have extra) just before serving.
- Serves 2