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Pasta with Summer Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nut Sauce combines ripe tomatoes and fresh basil with your choice of pasta – all tossed in a toasted pine nut and lemon sauce.
Fresh tomato and basil flavors really shine in this easy 30-minute meal!
Fresh garden tomatoes are finally here – and we’re loving all sorts of easy meals with those fresh summer flavors.
This quick and easy pasta dish combines fresh tomatoes and basil with fettucine. Then, it’s all tossed it in a simple sauce made with crushed pine nuts, olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper, plus a splash of balsamic vinegar.
The crushed pine nuts give the sauce a creamy, almost cheese-like texture – but there is no dairy in this sauce. Instead the garden fresh, sweet tomatoes take the starring role in this fresh and healthy meal.
Why you’ll love Pasta with Summer Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nut Sauce
- It has delicious summer tomato and basil flavors in every bite.
- This easy meal takes just thirty minutes to prepare – so it’s perfect for a quick summer night’s meal.
- This meatless meal also happens to be dairy-free – so its a great option if you or your dinner guests have dietary restrictions.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pine Nuts – Choose the freshest pine nuts you can find for the best flavor.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice –Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best for this recipe. Bottled lemon juice should be avoided.
- Sea Salt – Sea salt adds an extra-bright, salty flavor that is different from other salts. If you don’t have sea salt, use Kosher salt.
- Tomatoes – Any variety can be used in this recipe. Just make sure they are fully ripe.
- Basil – Use fresh basil. Unfortunately, dried basil won’t work in this recipe.
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh Garlic – Again, fresh garlic gives the best flavor. We do not recommend jarred garlic.
- Black Pepper
- Pasta – We chose fettuccine for this dish, but linguine or a thick spaghetti can also be used.
Special Tools Needed
- Small saucepan
- Small food processor or mortar and pestle – To crush the pine nuts.
- Large Bowl
- Large pot – To boil the pasta.
How do I make Pasta with Summer Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nut Sauce?
- Toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan.
- Crush the pine nuts with oil, lemon juice, and half the salt to create a fine puree.
- Marinate chunks of tomato with basil leaves, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, and remaining olive oil.
- Cook pasta. Reserve some of the cooking water, then drain.
- Pour the pasta back into the pot, then toss with the pine nut puree.
- Add the marinated tomato mixture to the pot with the pasta and toss to combine. Season to taste and some of the pasta water if needed.
- Serve immediately with some crusty garlic bread on the side.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Pasta with Summer Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nut Sauce ahead of time? The pine nut mixture can be made ahead of time, but the rest of the dish should be prepared right before serving.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just note that the tomatoes and basil will lose their freshness the longer this dish sits.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Warm individual portions in the microwave – being careful to avoid overheating.
Recipe adapted from The Washington Post.
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1/2 cup pine nuts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds any variety tomatoes, cored and cut into half-inch chunks
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces pasta (we used fettuccine)
- In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, dry without oil, until browned (about 5 minutes)
- Place into a small food processor along with 3 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon juice and half the salt. Process to a fine puree. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the cut-up tomatoes with juice, the torn basil leaves, the vinegar, garlic, remaining salt, pepper, and remaining olive oil and toss to combine. Let this mixture sit to marinate the flavors while you begin the pasta.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to box directions. Once done, save a cup of pasta water and drain.
- Place the cooked pasta back in the pan and toss with the pine nut puree. Then add the bowl of marinating tomatoes and toss.
- Taste and season if needed and if too thick, add a little pasta water. Save the rest of the pasta water to reheat leftovers.
- Serve immediately.
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