Summer calls for dishes that don’t require a lot of prep, rely on seasonal produce, and can be served chilled or at room temperature, depending on the temperature of where you’ll be eating them.
This bowl of pasta with pesto does the trick perfectly. Made with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden (or your favorite farmer’s), the sauce only requires a quick swirl in a food processor or blender to come together.
I use a mix of toasted slivered almonds and toasted cashews, but you can easily choose either. Liokareas Chilli Olive Oil adds the slightest spicy kick, but you can also double the amount of regular olive oil and just add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes instead.
It’s served here over rigatoni, but the pesto is also quite tasty as a spread for bruschetta or in a sandwich; diluted with a little more olive oil, it makes a welcome dip on a charcuterie board. Add a green salad and crusty Italian bread and you have a great summer supper with plenty of leftovers for lunch.
PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATO AND CHILI PESTO
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup cashews, toasted
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large handful of basil leaves, about 1 cup packed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, with a few reserved for garnish
Pinch or two of kosher salt
1/4 cup red chilli extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 pound cooked rigatoni, hot or at room temperature
Place almonds and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until finely chopped. Scrape the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
Add basil and tomatoes and pulse again to combine. Add the parmesan with a pinch or two of salt and mix several times. Scrape the edges again with a spatula.
With the engine running, add the oil in a thin stream until well blended. If the pesto is too thick, add a little olive oil until you get the desired consistency.
Place the cooked rigatoni in a bowl, then add the pesto and toss well to combine. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired.
Serve topped with the reserved tomato, with additional Parmesan cheese on the side. Add a green salad and bread for a complete meal.
For 6 to 8 people.