Tomato-Almond Pesto

Tomatoes are in season! They are giving off this wonderful tomato-y smell that you just know is full of tomato-y flavor.

So what better to do with these ripe, red tomatoes than showcase them in a pesto?

Words cannot describe how fresh and delicious this pasta is. The flavors of the produce are really showcased since the pesto is raw…which also means it retains all of its nutrients! The toasted nuts add a soft crunch (yes, I know that is an oxymoron) to the sauce, and the basil and garlic  will fill your kitchen with such a wonderful smell…

Toast the almonds lightly in a few teaspoons of oil. Make sure to stir regularly to prevent them from burning, and remove them from the pan when fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed. I used whole what angel hair because I wanted the meal to be as healthy as possible. I thought the whole grains complimented the fresh taste of the pesto, but my husband said it was “too healthy tasting,” so feel free to use regular pasta if that’s what you prefer. But whatever you choose, make it a long pasta. Short pasta won’t catch the pesto as well, and you will end up leaving a lot on the plate. No good.

When the almonds are cool, pulse them in the food processor until they reach the size of peas. Remove them from the food processor.

Process the basil, garlic, and salt until fine. Add back in the almonds as well as the tomatoes, parmesan, pepper, and olive oil. Process until the mixture becomes a fine puree.

Top the pasta with pesto and twirl away!

If you want the pesto to be a bit saucier, toss it in with the pasta, adding a little pasta water as you go. I found that I didn’t need to do that at all because the tomatoes were juicy enough to provide ample moisture to the sauce, but if you want a runnier pesto, you may want to add a splash or two of starchy water.

Tomato-Almond Pesto

lightly adapted from SmittenKitchen
serves 4-6

1 lb. linguine or other long pasta
¾ cup slivered almonds
2 tsp. olive oil, plus ¼ cup
½ cup fresh basil
2 large cloves garlic
¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
½ cup grated parmesan
black pepper

Cook pasta as directed.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the almonds in 2 tsp. olive oil until toasted. Let cool, then pulse in a food processor to form coarse, orzo-size pieces.
Scoop the almonds out of the food processor and set them aside.
Combine the basil, garlic, and sea salt in the food processor and chop. Add the chopped almonds, tomatoes, parmesan, and ¼ cup olive oil. Whirl briefly, until the mixture forms a thick, solid puree. Season it with freshly ground black pepper.
The linguine should be just done by the time the pesto is ready.
Reserving 1 cup pasta water, drain the pasta. Immediately toss the hot linguine with the pesto; mix quickly so that it drinks the sauce up a bit. Add the pasta water as needed.


2 comments to “Tomato-Almond Pesto”

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  1. Stephanie - July 24, 2011 Reply

    that looks good! i like that dave said the whole wheat pasta was too healthy tasting- that’s the exact response i would get from adam if i tried to get him to eat whole wheat pasta!

  2. Melissa - July 24, 2011 Reply

    But doesn’t Adam specifically hate the taste of wheat? Dave’s issue is broader: if it tastes like a real food that game from the ground or a tree or something, then obviously it is lacking something….haha.

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