I have never been a big fan of pesto. I really like the idea of it, but the actual delivery has more often than not disappointed me. No matter how flavourful the pesto itself has been, the pasta always seems to cancel it out.
I don’t know why it took me so many years to catch on to the delight of roasted tomatoes. I only ate my first one this past year when my down-the-street friend brought over a couple for me to try. Roasting tomatoes incrases the bioavailablity of lycopene in the fruit, which is good for all sorts of things, including prostate health, making it a great way to end Movember! (Don’t trust me? Trust him.) It also enhances the tomato’s flavour, even in the not-always-ripe-enough tomatoes we often find in the store at this time of year.
Roasted tomatoes have such a robust flavour, and mixed with the fresh basil, this pesto is truly a delight.
For Big Handsome I omitted the extra tomatoes, basil and walnuts (more for me!) and replaced them with goat cheese. Little Handsome was served just pasta with pesto, or maybe a little parmesean on top – I can’t remember exactly.
The best part is that the recipe makes more than we need so I froze half of the pesto for use later. Then it’s just a matter of roasting a few extra tomatoes beside my weekly veggies, cooking up some pasta, pulling out a couple of baby basil plants that needed to be thinned anyway, and we’ve got dinner!
See original recipe for better instructions and photos.
Roasted Tomato Pesto
7-9 tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup almond meal*
2 garlic cloves
1 cup tightly packed basil + more for garnish
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling on tomatoes
almonds, walnuts and/or cheese to top
salt & black pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked pasta per person (we used kamut pasta)
Instructions: cut tomatoes in half, drizzle them with oil and S&P, and roast them for about 1 hour at 180C. Process almond meal, garlic, basil, olive oil and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes in food processor until smooth. Season with S&P. Mix into cooked pasta. Top with the rest of the roasted tomatoes (chopped), extra basil and toasted nuts (almonds preferably, but I used walnuts). Enjoy!
* I used leftover almond pulp from making almond milk, but you could also pulse almonds in the food processor or use prepared almond meal.