Summer Tomato and Basil Pasta With Pine Nut Sauce 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Aug 25, 2019

All the exquisite flavors of the season come together beautifully in this easy-to-make dish. Make it when local tomatoes are at their peak. For extra visual appeal, choose a variety of tomato colors: We used Green Zebra, yellow and red.

Make Ahead: The tomatoes can be prepared up to 3 hours in advance.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup (1/2 ounce) fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • One (12-ounce) package gluten-free or whole-grain pasta, such as penne, spaghetti or fettuccine


Warm a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss in the pine nuts and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mini food processor and add 3 tablespoons oil, the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, scrape the sides and blend again.

(Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. If you want to use a regular-size food processor, you may need to double the sauce recipe to get it to blend smoothly. The sauce can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes and their juices, basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, garlic, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and toss to thoroughly combine. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside to marinate while you cook the pasta (you can prepare the tomatoes up to 3 hours in advance).

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta well and return to the pot. Add the pine nut sauce and toss to evenly coat the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl of tomatoes and gently toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Whole Food Cooking Every Day” by Amy Chaplin (Artisan, 2019).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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