This really should be called, “Cherry Tomato Broccoli Pesto Pasta.” But that’s a mouthful! This pasta reminds me of everything I love about summer. It is fresh. It is quick. It is easy. There is not any meat in the dish, but you do not miss it. My family loves this.
I recently indulged in a similar pasta dish at a local Italian restaurant. I wanted to try to recreate it at home. I searched for a recipe, but the closest I could find was this yummy one. The following recipe is loosely adapted from that one.
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine (I always use Riesling and it is fine. Any white non-bubbly wine will do)
1 clove of crushed garlic (or a handy dandy frozen cube)
6 oz. refrigerated pesto (pick your favorite. A bad pesto will ruin this dish)
1 12 oz. package fresh linguine (if you cannot find this a regular package of dried linguine is fine)
2 pint size containers of cherry tomatoes
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 head of brocolli chopped (or one small steamable all ready chopped package)
5 small slices fresh mozarella (cut again into thirds)
First things first. Chop your broccoli heads up into large bite sized pieces and place into a large sealable gallon sized plastic bag. Or you could simply buy a small package of steam-able brocolli. I normally do that, but this time, my store was out. Seal the chopped broccoli crowns, place them in the bag and set aside.
Boil water in a large pot.
Chop three-quarters of your cherry tomatoes into half. Also cut mozzarella slices into bite sized pieces and set mozzarella pieces aside.
In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add halved cherry tomatoes and remaining whole tomatoes into the skillet. Add salt and red pepper flakes. Let simmer twelve minutes. Stir occassionally.
In the meantime, boil noodles according to the directions on the package. I prefer to use fresh pasta found in the refrigerated section. It cooks faster and generally just tastes better. But you can use boxed pasta, just be aware of the time difference. Before draining pasta, carefully reserve a cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return the drained pasta to the pot it boiled in (with no water in it).
Pierce broccoli bag with fork two times. Microwave the bag for three and a half minutes on high.
After the tomatoes have simmered for twelve minutes, add wine and let simmer for two more minutes.
Add a little of the pasta water (about 1/4 cup) and broccoli. Mix.
Add pesto to the drained noodles. Add enough pasta water to make it easier to stir (about 1/4 cup. Do not add all of your reserved pasta water).
Add pesto noodles to the cherry tomato/broccoli mixture. Stir. Before plating add mozzarella to the pan and quickly mix. You do not want your mozzarella to melt too much.
Plate. And eat up! If you have picky kids, and they are old enough, I recommend letting them carefully cut the tomatoes and mozzarella when you are preparing this dish. It will make them feel like they made the dish and they will be more inclined to eat it. Both of my kids always have seconds. ; )
Enjoy! We will be eating this yummy pasta all summer! It just tastes fresh and happy!
P.S. Please do not forget to enter the Blog Giveaway. It ends on the 15th! Thank you!
This post was edited using the fun Afterlight app. It makes the colors richer in the photos.