linguine-with-tomato-almond-pesto Recipes

linguine with tomato-almond pesto

We are dragging this summer out. Maybe it’s because as far as I am concerned, it didn’t really start until August, when the bulk of the heat wave was behind us and we willingly ventured outside of our air-conditioned caves again, and when we finally took a little family vacation. Maybe it’s because if it is still summer, the baby is still a baby and not a one year-old toddler as he will be after this weekend. But it is most likely because we headed down the Garden State Parkway to Exit 0 last weekend for a belated 5 year anniversary mini-vacation without said baby and somehow, well into September, still got sun, sand and freckles. Summer in September? I’ll take it.



Despite the fact that the calendar may suggest fall clothes and butternut squash, the markets are still flooded with tomatoes. But, honestly, it wasn’t a sense of practicality that led me to this recipe. I mean sure, I had almonds, I also had precisely six plum tomatoes that needed to get eaten and I even had the slim margin of time needed to throw this together before starting the surprisingly exhausting dinner-bath-bed cycle for the boo. But that’s still not why I made it.

tomato, almonds, basil
to process

I made this recipe because a line in the recipe — “If you are Sicilian, become hysterical at the prospect of overcooked pasta. Break open a strand every 60 seconds, and when there is one tiny white speck at the center, drain instantly.” — cracked me up so much that despite the fact that I am clearly not Sicilian (though I share the aversion to gummy, overcooked pasta, though mine stems from Chef-Boy-R-Dee type school lunches) I could literally hear the mother on the phone to her daughter, dictating this recipe. It made me feel that I was in a room full of people I liked, and we were about to tuck in for a great late-summer meal. There are worse reasons to cook, right?

tomato and almond pesto

One year ago: Chcolate Pudding Pie and Roasted Tomatoes and Cipollini
Two years ago: Braised Romano Beans
Three years ago: Tortilla de Patatas and Chocolate Babka
Four years ago: Key Lime Tartlets and Romaine Pesto and Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes

Linguine with Tomato-Almond Pesto [Pesto Trapenese]
Adapted from Gourmet

3/4 cup (85 grams) slivered almonds
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
1 to 2 large garlic cloves
Several sprinkles of sea salt
6 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup (50 grams) grated Pecorino or Parmesan
1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) olive oil
1 pound (455 grams) linguine

In a large skillet, sauté the almonds in a little olive oil until toasted. Let cool, then blend them in a food processor or blender until they are in coarse pieces. (“The size of orzo,” the original recipe suggests.) Scoop them out of the processor and set them aside.

Put the basil, garlic and a few pinches of sea salt into the food processor and chop. Add the almonds back to the food processor (keeping them separate will keep them from getting too finely chopped as you get the basil and garlic to the right texture) with the tomatoes, cheese and olive oil and whirl briefly. Season it with freshly ground black pepper.

Cook your linguine until it is al dente and could use another minute of cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest. Immediately toss the hot linguine with the pesto and mix quickly so that it drinks the sauce up a bit. Add more pasta water if needed. Serve this lukewarm, or at room temperature, with a glass of wine, after you get the baby to bed.

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238 comments on linguine with tomato-almond pesto

  1. I think my current aversion to pasta stems from a childhood of over-cooked spaghetti with Ragu and dinners at the Olive Garden. That being said, this looks delicious! I am a sucker for pesto and with CSA tomatoes coming out my ears, I might need to make this :) And I bet this sauce would taste great on pizza too!

  2. I am with you. Summer is not over. At least not at the farmers’ market! I’m still flooded with tomatoes and zucchini like crazy…so I’m still all over later summer recipes. Plus, summer doesn’t end til September 22! So there.

    Love the idea of tomato-almond pesto…not something I’d have thought of!

  3. We’re having the same summer/fall dilemma here in Maine – on one hand I’m so excited about fall food (butternut squash ravioli! roasted broccoli! apple butter!), but on the other our garden is still producing tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans. It’s a delightful problem to have, really.

    This looks awesome. I bet it would be nice with a few strong olives thrown into the pesto, too.

  4. Thank you for telling me what’s on the menu tonight. I was halfway through a grocery list when I gave up, uninspired. This gave me a nice kick in the butt. Dinner can’t come too soon:)

  5. There’s seriously nothing worse than overcooked, soggy pasta. I’ve been to a whole lot of “Italian” restaurants that can’t seem to get it right. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they still think it’s a good idea to par cook it to save time. Ugh. This pesto looks delicious. Kind of similar to your walnut pesto, but with almonds. Love!

  6. I was just reading that if you have vinegar along w/ pasta it keeps your blood sugar from spiking….and therefore you don’t get that “hunger” feeling later…so a little side salad w/ a vinegar dressing…and voila! ;) this looks lovely. I have some italian sausage…might add that in and make this tonight. ;)

  7. MMMM….I wonder what pine nuts would taste like in this??? All I have are smoked almonds and pine nuts in the house, and being 6mth prego, I am strangely not looking to go to the store ha ha! Thoughts?? BTW, I absolutely adore your site and can’t get enough of your recipes and pictures of your son. So cute!

    Best – Sarah

  8. I just made this the other night. I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but I’ve seen the one form Gourmet and one from America’s Test Kitchen. I add some parsley in with the basil.

  9. I’ve loved every pasta recipe of yours that I’ve tried. In Berlin, autumn is closing in but I’m willing to deceive myself that summer hasn’t quite gone away by making this. Your pictures and recipes are so inspiring!

  10. Yum, this would be another good recipe for you to use those “ugly” tomatoes again :) I don’t really eat pasta in the summer, so this is actually the perfect recipe for me now that it is getting cool again.

  11. omgiods, America’s test kitchen just covered this recipe a couple of weeks ago. When the next batch of tomatoes in our yard ripens, this is what I’m making. And with Trader Joe’s flavored linguine (spinach chive, maybe).

  12. This looks awesome! I recently made a sun-dried tomato/artichoke heart pesto, and it was really yummy too. The weather sounds about right, in my neck of the woods (L.A.), September is frequently the hottest month of the year. Seems like it’s unusually mild this year though, and it’s totally getting me into squash/soup mood!

  13. This is one of my all time favorite pesto recipes to make. Mine (stolen from CI) calls for one pepperocini, which really gives it a nice focus. Or a dash of red pepper, but the pepperocini really makes it.

  14. Could I get away with using a blender instead of a food processor for making pestos and such? I’m a student with no money for such an abundance of appliances in my kitchen, but I haven’t gotten around to testing the blender yet with these recipes. Anybody have experience?

  15. Sounds delicious and I have a canning box full of plum tomatoes I picked from the garden, sounds like just the recipe I need.

    Love the line about overcooked pasta, I’m fussy about that too.

    -Brenda

  16. This might be just the trick for the last few tomatoes in our garden. One thought, though: Why not start with the basil/garlic/sea salt, then add the toasted almonds and chop to orzo-sized bits before adding the remaining ingredients? Seems it would cut out a bowl-scraping/one more dirty dish.

    1. Carrie — Yeah, I debated this a bit and then concluded that the recipe’s writer, a Sicilian mama with very specific instructions, probably had her reasons. It does seem like the pesto can be blended to the perfect consistency this way; if you left the almonds in, they’d become almost paste-like by the time the basil was blended. If you left the basil in, it would get almost pureed by the time the almonds were done. I thought the texture was perfect this way, and it was really only a minute’s extra work.

      Rita — I mention early in the recipe that you can use a FP or a blender.

  17. I’ve been making Lidia Bastianich’s recipe for tomato pesto for the past few summers and it is spectacular! I freeze it too, so I have some beautiful summer pesto in the dead of winter. Absolutely lovely.

  18. I am half Sicilian and totally agree, soggy pasta sucks. This looks so fresh and easy. I am not a big pasta eater, but will have to try this one out.
    Thanks again for a lovely post. Your mini vaca looks fun. We did the samething sans baby this past month, but ended up in steamy Chicago.

  19. Rita-
    I have made pesto in a blender before and it works just fine. I was without a food processor until very recently and never had any major problems substituting my blender in for things like these!

  20. Oh, this looks gorgeous. I’m trying to hold on to summer too, but the English weather is not cooperating! But next week I’ll be in New York(!) and I’m hoping you guys will still have some summer gorgeousness waiting for me :-)

  21. Love it–I, too share your aversion for overcooked pasta. Mostly inspired by hundreds and hundreds of mac n cheese meals of my childhood! I have all the ingredients in my kitchen and will most certainly be making this tomorrow!

  22. Hmmm… my pantry is getting pretty bare this week, but I have every single one of those ingredients (including tomatoes I picked on Sunday from my mother’s garden). o/ I know what’s for dinner tonight!

  23. I am Sicilian! Also, I have all the ingredients for this and I bet with a smear of extra olive oil on top, this would freeze wonderfully. Perfect for using up those barely hanging on tomatoes and basil.

    Also should you ever venture to Philadelphia, beware, I might eat your baby. He’s just that cute.

  24. Hate to be so perfectionistic and needy…but can Deb (or anyone) suggest a more precise amount of basil? For example, I’ll be buying mine in those small, overpriced plastic clamshell things; how many packs should I buy? This recipe looks wonderful.

    (I’ve recently become obsessed with sliced almonds: when not busy eating your Zucchini Saute with Almonds dish, I’m busy craving it! Thanks!)

  25. A good line is probably one of the best reasons I can think of for making a recipe…Like Vanessa said, Central/Northern Europe is already in the throes of autumn (is that even a thing?) but we’re still pulling the last tomatoes off out vine.

  26. I just made this, and I loved it! It’s already sitting happily in my belly. I used whole wheat pasta and didn’t know what plum tomatoes were when I was looking at the grocery store (and was too embarrassed to ask) so I used regular tomatoes instead, which I think were a little more liquidy than I anticipated. But it was delicious! No fancy food photography here, but: http://twitpic.com/2off62

  27. I remember the dread of letting go of ‘baby’ in exchange for ‘toddler’. None of it is easy – as my now first grader no longer looks like a little little kid, and tells me ‘the kindergartners are so LITTLE this year mommy!’ (without an ounce of recognition that it’s because she herself has grown). Soak it all up!

  28. I am thrilled to see this recipe. I spent a lot of last summer making a version of this from the William Sonoma website that focused more on the tomatoes and almonds. I dont recall that it had any basil, or at least not in a main ingredient kind of way. The almonds add a smooth nuttiness to the tomatoes that balances the raw acidity. I made tons and it froze very wel too. I will try this version with the still abundant tomatoes at the local farmer’s market.

  29. I want this for dinner tonight! Question: all of our summer tomatoes have been blanched, hacked up, and canned in an attempt to keep summer tomatoes in our reach all year. Do you think these will work for this recipe? I don’t want to compromise the fresh flavor.

  30. I spent last week in Avalon, NJ which was a ghost town, perfect for biking and laying on the beach in the still 88 degree heat. I’ve started making my own pasta but I just bought Marcella Hazzan’s book which tells me that I should never make my own spaghetti and should only used dried. I’m not sure what the rule is on linguine…

  31. As a few other people have noted, America’s Test Kitchen ran a variation on this early this summer and we make it in my house constantly. It is delicious, light, and so easy and fast to prepare the pesto is made from start to finish in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Really, how can you beat that?

  32. I’m holding onto summer (tomatoes), too. I can’t get enough of them while they are around. I think my family is going to be sick of them, and fall vegetables will be a welcome addition to our meals.

  33. The tomatoes here took forever to ripen this year so I am not ready to give up on summer yet either. Just two weeks ago one of the farmer’s market vendors said they had tons of tomatoes in their field that just weren’t turning red but they already had pumpkins!

  34. This pesto sounds really interesting. Do you think this would freeze up well? When I make traditional pesto I always freeze some in a plastic ice-cube tray, and then pop the cubes into a zip lock for smaller portions later on. My tomato plants continue to be very generous this year and I would like to whip up a bunch. I’m thinking a little of this tomato pesto might be tasty on some roasted eggplant or zucchini as well.

  35. May be a silly question- but do you think this would be possible to make sans food processor (so long as I finely chop and accept a courser sauce?) I’ve yet to accept that I’m a ‘grownup’ who needs more kitchen gadgetry than two pans and a coffee pot, but this sounds tasty!

  36. Exit 0 on the Garden State Parkway is my favorite place on earth. Beautiful pictures!

    This looks yummy. A good solution for the bounty of tomatoes I’ve got from the CSA.

  37. This has nothing specific to do with this recipe except for the fact that I will most likely make it this weekend…..what I wanted to say Deb, and I hope you are reading this….is that I had to go to a potluck and my assignment was anything with tomatoes….I took three things…..and realized later….they were ALL from Smitten Kitchen! Thanks, girl for making life so easy….and yummy.
    PS. I have four huge shelves of cookbooks….

  38. Oh, you make me homesick for the summers of my childhood. I spent lots of rainy days in that theater.
    And this–this–looks awesome. My older son surprised me by smelling a basil-tomato tossed pasta I made and said, “Is that pesto? Can I have some?” Good nose, that boy. I’ll bet he loves this!

  39. Yippie! Almond Pesto!! My husband is allergic to pine nuts (but not other nuts), and I’ve been missing pesto. I made walnut pesto once and wasn’t really impressed. I’ll have to try this.

  40. Oh my god yum! This will go perfectly with some pumpkin fettucini I’ve been saving for a special occasion (the start of spring in Oz seems like a perfectly good excuse!)

  41. I just made this tonight. Couldn’t resist.

    Also, my little mini food processor decided to call it quits tonight, so I just chopped everything as best I could. It probably wasn’t the same as if it had been truly ground (like the old Italian ladies do in their food mills) but the flavors were awesome. Really, really great.

  42. This looks super yum, incorporates several of my favorite ingredients AND it’s a twist on pesto (I LOVE doing twists on pesto with whatever I have lying around). I love love love your blog, I make things from it frequently, and just thought I’d finally say something about it :)

  43. Thank heavens you blogged. I was starting to worry about you. Now I see it’s only that the adorable little curly haired roly-poly has turned into an adorable little curly haired boy! And who knew you would ever get freckles?

    You look beautiful with those little spots!

    Oh, and the recipe looks great, too! Just what I needed! :)
    Thanks!
    (But seriously, a week between was starting to worry.)

  44. Looks amazing, you’re my go to source for delicious pasta. And I can’t believe Jacob is one already! Hope you three enjoy his birthday!

  45. This seems like a great summer-fall “bridge” recipe.

    The line about obsessively checking the pasta is great. I’m not Italian, but I definitely have that habit. There’s no other way to be sure it’s properly done! Besides, every sauce requires a slightly different level of doneness.

  46. Ohhh…Cape May…..love it down there. And this pesto dish looks fabulous. Thank you, Deb! (and keep dressing him in argyle – he totally rocks the look!)

  47. @ Yvonne– One of those over-priced clamshell thingies would be plenty. I like basil more than maybe anyone… I used a small palmful from my anemic balcony basil and wished I had some bonus pricey clamshell basil to tide me over. Regardless, it was delicious. You can always add some to start, if it’s not “green” enough for you, add more. Just give it a taste!

  48. The Jamie Oliver version of this has been a weeknight standby for us for a few years. So good, so easy, also really adaptable to feeding a crowd because the tomatoes bulk it up.

  49. Sounds delish; I generally love almonds in any form so I’m excited to throw them in a pasta sauce.
    And you’re lucky that summer barely stretches into september for you. I live in texas and it lasts from March until November.

  50. Yum, Deb. YUM. I made it and I’m eating it as I type this! Another real winner. I used the almonds I had on hand, dry roasted and salted (I added less salt initially, but when I tasted it at the end it needed more anyway). And my supermarket-variety tomatoes were sadly on the weak side, so mine came out several shades paler than yours. It’s delicious anyway.
    The peach shortbread was awesome for Rosh Hashanah, and your Majestic and Moist Honey cake earned accolades.
    Jacob’s so beautiful and really rocks that sweater vest! A happy and sweet new year.

  51. @Laura in Milwaukee — Thanks! You’ve made my next trip to the grocery store less fraught with indecision…May your balcony basil bloom in rich green abundance. :)

  52. I’ve never been a fan of the original pesto sauce since it contains walnuts, to which I’m allergic. So, I love the fact that this one uses tomatoes and almonds instead. I’ll have to try it.

  53. Looks perfect even though today is definitely a rainy windy day here in Paris. I love the imagery with the Sicilian way of considering pasta–I already can’t be pulled away from a pot of pasta, tasting every minute; if I were Sicilian it would be even worse!

  54. @lisa (or deb, or whoever can answer :D) – walnuts? o_0

    i’ve heard of pine nuts, or no nuts at all (how i make pesto, mostly because i’m lazy and don’t like nuts otherwise so never have them on hand, heh) but walnuts? i’m curious.

  55. addendum: huh, wikipedia says walnuts or cashews were often used because they were cheaper than pine nuts but had a similar consistency. the more you know! (*do do do dooooo!*)

  56. I’ve been following your website since I started my blog in May and a friend said “You must, must, must read Smitten Kitchen!” (She is a teacher in India and she and her colleagues all follow your blog)
    My baby boy will be 1 on Saturday. Do our boys have the same birthday?! Congratulations and beautiful blog.

  57. Deb – Have always loved your site. My girlfriend and I use it as inspiration for homemade romantic meals. I feel like I owe you a quick word of thanks.

    On a side note: my blender is on the out and out, so I am looking for a good food processor. Which one do you use? Would you recommend it?

  58. this recipe sounds perfect, since I have an abundance of basil and having not been able to find pine nuts. Can’t wait to try!!

  59. This recipe is very Rachael Ray and funny enough she is Sicilian. And on the subject of summer I am new to the east coast and thought summer ran until mid October.:)(Arizona) Thanks for sharing. Cheers to a room filled with friends and pasta.

  60. Yesterday 4 friends came over and we made 250 ravioli and too many pieces of linquini to count! We all had flour in our hair, on our clothes and my kitchen was a total disaster – but it was so fun! Tonight – I’m making this recipe with my homemade linguini…what could be better?! Just trying to gear up for Italy – we leave in TWO weeks!!! xo, Nan

  61. I could not believe it when I saw the recipe for pesto trapanese on your blog! I live in Italy and not that many people know about it here either. I just happen to be married to a trapanese, and his mom knows what she is doing in the kitchen (check out what she cooked up during our summer vacation…). Your pesto looks amazing…my mother in law would be proud of you! Only she would insist you double, er, triple or even quadruple the amount of garlic. I kid you not. Bravissima!

  62. Deb, If you were me with more basil gardening success this year than ever before and the desire to save it all from the impending first frost, what would you do to preserve it? Are harvest-green-fingernails and hours of blanching/freezing my only resort?

  63. I can’t wait to see what you do for Jacob’s birthday! Your love of a homemade birthday cake is going to shine, I would imagine :) And he will always be your baby!

  64. It’s a tomato almond kind of day; I just opened my latest Food and Wine magazine and it includes a spaghetti with tomatoes, almonds and anchovies. I’ve never put almonds together with either tomatoes or pasta…so think it must be a sign and yours wins cause, well, I have basil in the garden but no anchovies!

  65. This sounds and looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Roma tomatoes are plentiful in my area right now…I still have a bit of fresh basil growing. This is going on the menu for next week. Thank you.

  66. I love the idea of getting a little nut protein in with the tomatoes. No doubt, adds to the richness of flavor and you get a extra boost of energy beyond the complex carb. Now I’m sounding like a nutritionist rather than pasta craving fool. Nuts are going in my next pasta. Thanks for the idea and the amazing way you inspire.

  67. Yum, I’ve never had pesto with tomatoes in it! And ditto about the awkward time of year. Last week at the grocery store, there were all sorts of tomatoes and stone fruits in one section, then a crazy variety of kooky squash (fancy store) in another. Meanwhile, it’s still in the 90s here…

  68. thank you for saving me from my planned virtuous whole wheat penne and broccli dish for tonight (another time) . I know now it was downright silly not to use my still wonderful farmer’s market tomatoes and basil.
    Also, you are so much thinner than I thought anyone could be with such a formidable love and talent for food1

  69. LOVE the old Cape May Beach Theatre. Our favorite resturants is Island Grill. Used to love Stumpo’s for Italian, but it closed :(. Congress Hall is so beatiful, though, and the town is just so fabulous.

  70. I picked up all the other ingredients to make this for dinner tonight, only to get home, get started, and discover that the bag of slivered almonds that has been in my cabinet since time immemorial somehow grew legs and ran away.

    Oddly enough, however, I *did* have pine nuts. So I used those. The results were still tasty, but I wish it had been almonds…

    I also did it in a blender, as I’m still holding out hope that Santa will bring me a food processor one of these years. Texture would have been better with a food processor, but you gotta use whatcha got…

  71. This was amazing! The kids loved it, the husband (who says he hates almonds) loved it, I loved it! I love having new uses for all of the ingredients that are coming out of my garden right now. . .Plus, it was ready in the time it took for the pasta to cook–amazing!

  72. oh my goodness. How simple is this? I made this last night and made a smaller amount (of pasta…plenty of pesto!) and sauted up some zucchini as a side…and did add in a bit of local Italian Sausage…yummo. But tonight, I boiled up a bit more linguini, sauted up some squash w/ a bit of red pepper flake…and tossed the pesto, linguini all w/ the squash…the pesto was even better tonight(and without the sausage the flavors even more impactful. Is that a word?). It was so yummy I could (and might) eat the little bit of pesto that’s left with a spoon. Seriously. The red pepper flakes added a nice bit of heat…and paired w/ a glass of vino, it was a great dinner for 1 as the hubs is out of town.And so fast. I can see making this ahead of time, using it w/ pasta, perhaps using what’s left to top some thinly pounded chicken…oh how I love this simple recipe. Thank you!!!!

  73. You freckle beautifully, by the way. Summer’s still in full swing here in Central Florida, so thank you for yet another recipe to put somewhere in my pile of ‘delicious-Smitten-recipes-I-really-want-to-make’. A new way to dress pasta is always fashionable.

  74. Made this tonight and it was fabulous. I just toasted the almonds rather than sauteeing them, and I didn’t bother chopping the nuts first; I just threw them in with the tomatoes, etc. and the consistency seemed just right. This was a wonderful, quick dinner – and if I can do it, as the mother of an 8 week old and a 2.5 year old – anyone can!

  75. Please buy Jacob a tweed sport coat with leather patches on the elbows for his birthday. As to food…Is it possible to grow basil indoors? Those clamshell things are expensive and the leaves are small.

  76. I made this last night. It was delicious. I have a mini-cuisinart and the tomatoes didn’t fit in it, but I just cut them up and added them. Probably a completely different texture than yours, but still very yummy. Thanks for your beautiful and fun-to-read blog!

  77. Made this last night and it was great. I started with sliced almonds and skipped the first step of blending them first on their own and taking them out. I just put them in with the tomatoes and cheese and everything came out the perfect texture in my blender. I may add a pinch of sugar or a little bit of grated carrot next time to add a touch of sweetness & depth. Super yummy!

  78. Hey Deb! I just wanted to tell you that almost every morning (that I have the time) I make myself a sort of combo of your tomato sauce with onions and butter and your eggs in tomato sauce. (or sometimes with a poached egg.) SO GOOD.

  79. Like some of your other commenters, I remember reading that line in Gourmet and chuckling. :) I miss it so much. The sauce looks like it’s right up my alley!

  80. Yum! It looks amazing!

    Oh- and you are right, Deb. You only have a short window to dress Jacob in the sweater vest…enjoy it while you can! He is such a cutie!

  81. Oh this looks so good – I’m going to give it a try with queso cotija as parmesan is rather exotic where I’m living in Mexico – and maybe with walnuts instead of almonds.

  82. Mmmmm! I remember when this recipe came out in Gourmet and I made it one cold wintery night. absolutely delish and an awesome take on Pesto that i’d never had. and so easy too! should try it again, but this time with juicy summer tomatoes and not the lonely pale little guys in February grocery stores.

  83. Made this. Absolutely love it. It was quick. ALmost effortless, but doesn’t taste that way. I browned the almond slivers in coconut oil (which I’m using so much of these days). It brought me right back to the amazing food in Sicily – isn’t it amazing how much amazing food experiences can help you remember other details about a trip or visit somewhere? Thank you!!

  84. Oh my! I just finished dinner and had to write that this was one of the most scrumptious pasta dishes I’ve ever had! I have to be honest, though that I didn’t have fresh plum tomatoes (are they the same thing as Roma?) but instead used canned plum tomatoes and plucked 6 out of their juices. I followed the rest of the recipe to a T. Mine looked saucier than yours does, but utterly yummy. Thanks!

  85. Made this for dinner tonight! Was refreshing after a couple of days of heavy, meaty meals. Very light, and mild (had to get tomatoes from the grocery store rather than the farmers market, so they were a bit poorly) and definitely much much improved when it was fully cooled to room temperature. I still enjoyed it warm, but the bowl left standing on the counter during serving round 1 benefited from the wait time. Yum. I have quite a lot leftover after serving two, would maybe 1/2 or 2/3 the recipe next time for a quick meal.

  86. First of all, I am thouroughly enjoying this blog! I only came across it this week, and have already made the peach muffins (variation of the peach cupcakes w/brown sugar frosting) and the peach shortbread. Both were wonderful!
    And then I came across this pasta recipe, and made it on Wednesday evening. I don’t know if I did something wrong, or if I’m just not used to the combination of flavors (I’m a very new cook), but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.
    The only changes I made were garden tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes, and garlic powder instead of cloves. I think the almonds got chopped up a little too much, and then the blender didn’t want to cooperate with the basil. The pesto turned out much less chunky than the posted pics. In the end, adding more Parmesan to the final product helped, but now I have A LOT leftover that I’m not too crazy about.
    Maybe I did something wrong? Maybe I just don’t like pesto (don’t know if I’ve ever had it before)? And what can I do with all the leftovers?
    Help! Thanks.

  87. I have a Sicilian mother-in-law and she so does the check the pasta to see when it’s cooked in a flurry thing. She makes a pesto recipe similar to this with mint instead of basil. Sometimes she cooks the pesto with small shrimp or fish and it tastes so delicious on a hot summer’s day.

  88. Happy birthday, young Jacob! And happy anniversary birth-giving to you, Deb and Alex! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

  89. I made it for dinner tonight and also made the Tomato-Mozzarella-Caprese Salad.
    Though the linguine was not as tasty as expected it surprisingly went extremely well with salad and off course ‘homemade’ wine as suggested. You have made so many nights special, and me very famous for my cooking that I can’t thank you enough…
    Thank you so much!

  90. Happy Birthday to little Jacob!!!!!!!

    He was born the same day as my daughters bday. She’s 18 today. I’m sure Jacob will have a yummy birthday party and wish him many many more!

  91. Made this the night before last with only parmesan, and next time I’ll definitely go half and half with pecorino so it has a little more “bite” to it. We had every ingredient in the house already, which was so much fun. The other recommendation I’d make is to watch the almonds very carefully – they can go from lovely golden brown to burnt-tasting in an instant.

  92. As a grandchild of Sicilians who took out vendettas against those who overcooked pasta, this recipe made me laugh out loud. Sounds like a perfect meal to me, as long as it’s perfectly made! :-)

  93. Happy Birthday little Jacob! It’s been such a privilege to the little guy (through your mother’s gorgeous photography) grow from a beautiful baby into a beautiful one-year-old!

  94. I am new to the cooking thing (21 year old college student) and this was easy enough to do while writing a paper! So delicious. I am hooked to your site!

  95. I went to make a pesto very similar to this one time and realized I only had tamari almonds. It’s a totally different taste but still delicious. I also think my original recipe said to use pumpkin seeds. So many variations!

  96. This dish looks lovely. Photos are great- were by chance you in CM? It’s so much fun there, so quaint and beautifully Victorian. I thought I recognized the theater from back when we did our family summer vacation there!

  97. This is truly amazing…I served it over cracked pepper fettucini, and did not add pepper at the end. Wow! Next time I will add a little more basil.

  98. Very tasty Deb, thanks for this. It also smells devine. I added some chopped up bacon slivers fried in olive oil (it was in the fridge and needed using up), it was a nice addition. I think I’ll be using the leftovers to make an alternative take on bruscetta.

  99. Made it in my blender and served it over polenta. So good and easy. And it was really filling. Makes wonderful gluten free dinner with just a green salad added. Thanks Deb.

  100. It was great! I added white wine (I always add white wine to my gravy(AKA “sauce” when I cook it) and some parsley. I also made homemade linguine instead of using boxed. Much appreciated, Deb!

  101. My family LOVED this!!! So simple, fresh, and delicious. One of the best pestos I have ever made, and I have made many. I think this is only 2nd to the Black Bean Pumpkin Soup.

  102. had some tomatoes from my mum’s garden that were just about go over the edge from ripe to oh no. tried this recipe out with my little miniature food processor. pain in the butt! need a proper FP. almost doubled the amount of parmesan (hubby is a parm NUT). worked out beautifully.

  103. OMG you were in Cape May! I wish I’d known although I would have hated to crash your vacation I would have loved an opportunity to meet you and have you guys over for dinner. Next Year for sure ;-)

    Says the girl who you don’t know…lol

  104. I burnt some of the almonds, used canned diced tomatoes, and only had locatelli cheese on hand–and this sauce still turned out really good. I can only imagine if I had made it correctly :P This was a really great vegetarian meal and a great alternative pesto sauce.

    Any suggestions as to what else we can use the sauce for, other than over pasta?

  105. @Tom – The folks who used to make the lovely chopping blades for the aging Cuisinart workhorse my Mom uses ditched them years ago to work for Kitchen Aid, so that’s what I went with. Not one moment’s regret, either.

    @Deb – What a wonderful recipe! My husband loved it too, which is an added bonus. Thank you!

  106. I made this on Tuesday and Oh. My. Goodness! I am NOT a pesto lover (of the basil-based variety) but have enjoyed a good mushroom pesto now and then. So since I love tomato-based sauces, I though I’d give this a try. Best pasta I have ever made, and I’ve made some good ones!

    This was the perfect compromise between my husband’s and my tastes – I love tomato-ey sauce-y dishes, he likes cream-based pasta on the dry side – with the bold tomato and basil flavorand the drier pesto consistency.

    For me, it tasted like a really good bruscetta, with pasta instead of bread. The smokiness of the toasted almonds really made the flavors come alive. It was so good I’m making it again tonight to use up my leftover basil (but roasting the garlic first this time – the garlic was a bit much raw). And as a bonus, it made fabulous tasting leftovers. Thanks for this, it’s so simple and tasty, it’s my new go-to!

  107. Just made this for my lunch, and it is phenomenal! Thanks so much for the recipe idea. A question though – my partner hates cheese (it’s irrational, but no amount of logic or blackmail has changed his mind), but I’d love for him to try this. What’s an alternative for cheese in pestos? Thanks!

  108. Pesto pasta night is a favorite in my house but someone would be crazy not to love this recipe!!! I mixed it up in the momma cuisinart (we have a big one and small one so naturally they were name!) and I knew immediately it was a winner recipe! I’m never disappointed by anything I try on Smitten Kitchen and I thank you for that!

  109. I see I’m not the only to take note of this recipe. As others have said, it’s a perfect way to use SO many left over tomatoes from our garden. That’s all that’s left besides the Indian corn we planted to use as fodder shocks for decoration.
    Thanks- and a happy belated bday to Jacob. I have a Jacob as well.

  110. I made this today for upcoming dinner time in which I will need to feed not only myself, but also my boyfriend, 4 year old daughter (the pickiest of all eaters), and my 10 month son (who takes after his father where if it’s food, he’ll eat it).

    I, myself, have just recently began to enjoy tomatos and thought this recipe might be worthwhile. Might I add that the stubborn 4 year old, of all things, LOVES pesto. As of now, her and I have been twisting pesto noodley deliciousness onto our forks and going “mmmmmmm”. The chicken is still in the oven, and daddy doesn’t get off work until 5…but when it’s good – there is no resisting the urge!

    My sister turned me onto this site a few weeks ago and I’m in love! Great work!

  111. I just got done making this and it is ABSOLUTELY DYNAMITE! I followed the recipe exactly and my mouth is watering as I type. Hopefully the sauce will last until tonight for dinner w/ friends and not end up on bread for lunch! I have fresh pasta in the freezer from the farmer’s market that I’ll serve this with. Seriously people, make this one! Thanks for enlightening me to the world of traditional pesto alternatives!!

  112. I must’ve messed something up with this. I tried it last night and followed the recipe to the letter, but the sauce I got was bland. Not bad, just not flavorful or interesting in any way. I started mixing things in and strayed far from the pesto reservation. Everyone loved the finished product, but I couldn’t help but wonder what went wrong here. Everything in it seems like it’d work. It must be operator error, because Deb’s recipes have never let me down!

  113. I tried this recipe with a variation of adding mushrooms and prawns to the sauce, and I loved it. Though I think I pulsed the tomato thing too long, the end result was rather creamy, and not textured like in the photos. But still good.

  114. oh i must clarify, i didn’t puree the mushroom and prawn along with it, i just added it to the sauce afterwards.

    i think a bit of herbs can liven up the sauce a little.

  115. I have just stumbled on your site and have been engrossed with all the recipes and comments all weekend long. My inner chef/cook has been off-line for some time and am planning to make pasta for my husband tonight due to this website. Love the pictures and stories associated with the recipes. Thanks so much for this reboot of my system. I thought I was broken

  116. Oddly enough, Costco had a huge stock of VERY ripe delicious cherry tomatoes in January (in California)! So I was looking for ways to incorporate the remainder of the 5lb box of tomatoes and came across this. I substituted ~4 cherry tomatoes for each plum tomato called for in the recipe and added a couple more when it looked dry in the blender. Awesome!

  117. Oh, Deb… thank you. I was trying to work out what to eat tonight… I had pasta, cherry tomatoes, almonds, and a pared-down version of this was the best thing I’ve eaten in weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  118. This was pretty good and mostly heart healthy, but at almost 800 calories a serving (4 servings) I don’t think I’ll be making it again. It just didn’t taste like it was 800 calories worth of food. All I had were whole almonds so maybe the toasted flavor didn’t come through enough because the surface area was less? Any tips for making a lower calorie pesto?

  119. You are now two for two at our table and since finding your site a week or so ago, have so quickly become my most favorite food blog. Thanks so much for what you have going here. And hoo boy! A book coming out?! I’m excited already.
    Ah yes. The recipe. I love pesto but after suffering from Pine Mouth just this past March (if you’ve not heard of it, do look it up), have become very weary of pine nuts. Sad, huh? However, this fear is what made my eyes light up when seeing your recipe for an almond-based pesto. Genius! For the most part, I followed along. Like the poster above, I also just had whole almonds on hand and used those. The smell of these roasting was incredible. I often roast pecans and walnuts, especially for salads, but almonds were new to me, and perhaps my new favorite. Because I used whole almonds, this affected the color of the final pesto (it was more a browny-red than the vibrant red you show in your photo above), but the taste was still right on. For two of us, I used half, or maybe 2/3 of the pesto with linguine and immediately stored the rest in the fridge. I served it warm and nearing room temp as suggested in the recipe, and this might be the only point of disagreement I have with the recipe; we both thought last night that it would be better as a hot dish. I don’t know if this is because summer has not really happened yet in the Northeast (believe me; I’m not complaining!), and maybe I would feel different if it were 100 degrees in my shoebox and I wanted a simple/refreshing dinner. Tonight I was solo for dinner and used the leftover pesto with fresh linguine, served hot, and the pesto had an even better flavor on its second day. With some still remaining (it’s never ending!), I’m hatching a plan that involves grilled eggplant and mozzarella sandwiches. I loved this very much and thanks for sharing it.
    ps. As a native Kentuckian, I also applaud and support your enthusiasm for bourbon. We throw it into everything there; don’t be shy.

  120. Just reporting back here. Also, I’m not trying to hijack this recipe and suggest everyone ought to forgo the pasta in favor of sandwiches or bruschetta but for leftovers, the pesto was pretty dynamite on eggplant/mozzarella/fresh tomato sandwiches. Finally, the never-ending supply of pesto has sadly ended…until I make it again, which I will most certainly do. Thanks, Deb.

  121. ah i have not yet been disappointed by a recipe on your blog! this smelled fantastic, and tasted just as good. i used mini romas instead of plums but i think they worked well. i also like how quick this was to make!

    thanks!!

  122. Just made this for dinner last night– had it with some pan-fried cod with a squeeze of lemon. It was fantastic, and great go-to type of summer meal that’s lazy and tasty and not so bad for you, either. I used whole-wheat pasta which I think complemented the nuttiness of the almonds. Overall great recipe though, thank you!

  123. Made a double batch this weekend. First batch was with pasta as described, though I added some sauteed criminis, but then used rest of pesto all week, on green beans, roasted rosemary potatoes, rosemary grilled pork tenderloin, fried egg on toast….you get the picture :-) What a fabulous,versatile way to use the tomato and basil surplus this time of year.

  124. This was great! We grew a lot of basil, and got a lot from our CSA, and I had kind of gotten sick of the Joy of Cooking Pesto recipe, but this was much better. It also helped me use up some tomatoes from the CSA and out garden. And my 1 year old ate a lot of it too!

    1. Hi Linsday — I haven’t tried it but I’m not positive that it will. Well, I mean, you can definitely freeze it but I do think some of the texture/flavor will be lost.

  125. I served the pesto over spaghetti squash for a dinner with friends (because of a gluten-intolerant person at the table), and we absolutely loved it. I have a slough of CSA tomatoes and plan to make more and try freezing it.

    Searches have led me to your site often and I always enjoy your stories as well as your recipes.

  126. Hi! I made this tonight and my tomato-sauce and basil averse husband liked it! First off, I hand-chopped the almond slivers with a knife so that I wouldn’t accidentally over-pulse them in the FP. Also, I used regular tomatoes instead of plum, so the colour was less than vivid. When everything was blended together, the sauce tasted super garlicky so I added a small can (213 mL) of plain tomato sauce and I really liked the resulting colour and taste. Then I tossed the sauce back into the pot with the strained pasta to warm up the sauce and allow the pasta to soak it up even more. Yum!

  127. This recipe looks amazing but quick question – how many does it serve? Making it tomorrow for my mum’s surprise birthday lunch and have some guests coming over. Doing the shopping for it tomorrow morning (probably around 9 am GMT) so a fast response would be appreciated! Love the blog! xx

  128. Alice — I never know what to estimate for 1 pound pasta because apparently what my family does — 6 to 8 servings per pound, more first course Italy-style — not the norm. Many readers have told me they get 4 servings per pound, which sounds more like a large main course. Hope that helps.