Penne Pasta with Cream, Pesto and Tomatoes

(originally published June 2010)

I’ve been experimenting with selling herbs at the local farmers market recently and the one that seems to sell the best is basil.  I always seem to sell out early.  So this last market, I took double what I normally take and guess what….. I didn’t sell it all.  I did sell more than last time, but still had quite a bit left over, so started looking for recipes to use it all up.    Pesto was the first thing that came to mind so I got started making pesto (recipe follows).  Then, what to do with the pesto???     After browsing through my favorite Italian cookbook for ideas, I came up with this variation for Penne Pasta with Cream, Pesto and Tomatoes, and it turned out great!     I had to improvise a little with the cream – I didn’t have any – so used Ricotta cheese.  I know, not the same in many ways, but it worked….   I also didn’t have any pine nuts for the pesto, so left them out.   And I’m always trying to reduce my wheat intake, so used brown rice penne pasta.  It was  all really good!    Served with a Caprese salad to make use of more basil, and we were quite happy and full!   Happy and nourished – that’s what it’s all about!

Penne Pasta with Cream, Pesto and Tomatoes

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Serves: 4

For the Pesto:

  • 25 fresh basil leaves
  • scant 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup romano cheese, freshly grated
  • salt

Put the basil leaves in a food processor with the olive oil, pine nuts and a pinch of salt.  Process briefly at medium speed.  Add the cheeses and process again.   Store in the refrigerator.

For the pasta dish:

  • scant 1 cup heavy cream
  • 11 ounces fresh tomatoes, thinnly sliced, or canned chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Pesto
  • 4 cups Penne pasta or Rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • salt

Pour the cream into a pan, add the tomatoes and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.   Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and pour into a warm serving dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the pasta and then spoon the sauce over it.

[fbcomments countmsg="tasteful comments!"]