Cavatappi with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Summer, summer, summer.  The word is fat and round and breezy and rolls around nicely on the tongue.  And we want our food to be breezy, too.

If you have basil and tomatoes growing in your garden, make this.  If you have a farmers’ market near you, make this.  If you have leftover pesto hanging around, even store-bought, you can still make this.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Pesto / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

You’ll cook the pasta and make the pesto in the time it takes to roast the little tomatoes.  You can see that I used yellow tomatoes in many of these pics..  No reason; it’s what I had.  This would be perfect with any color tomatoes, and a mix of colors would be super lovely.

Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

By no means do you have to use cavatappi – it was the pasta I grabbed at the moment, and I do love it’s compact, chewy, twisted little shape.  Below you will see another version with more orangey tomatoes and gemelli.  At some point I will add yet ANOTHER series of photos with mixed color tomatoes and large elbows.  God know what hell will break loose after that.

Cavatappi with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Also this calls for a lot of tomatoes, but they really shrink down during roasting.  If you only had two pints, you’d still be in business.  Just place them on the top to serve, so they don’t get lost in the tossing.

yellow tomatoes about to be roasted Katie Workman/Cheyenne Cohen

Another thing to love is the fact that this can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.  It’s a great make ahead dish, hanging out happily for a day in the fridge before bringing to room temperature and serving, and it’s very portable.

Summer Pesto Pasta / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

And it’s not too hard on the eyes either.   If you had some roasted pepper hanging around your could slice them up and add them to the mix.  I would also tuck a few whole basil leaves in here and there for a really gorgeous presentation.

And then serve it up with some grilled chicken, such as Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lime, Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Marinade or Simple Herbed Grilled Chicken.

Summer pastas are usually just plain gorgeous.

Cavatappi with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

Other pastas to make the most of everything that’s at the market:

Cavatappi with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

It's hard to make a summer produce pasta that not a stunner, but this one is bursting with basil and roasted tomatoes.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 4 pints cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 5 fresh thyme
  • ½ cup olive oil approximately, divided, plus more for serving as needed (this is a very subjective amount – you'll see)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 pound cavatappi or other chunky pasta


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Place the tomatoes and thyme sprigs on the baking sheet and toss them with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they are wrinkley and slightly collapsed.
  • While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, make the pesto. Place the garlic and basil in a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is roughly chopped. Add 1/3 cup of the oil, a bit of salt and pepper and process, scraping down the sides, part way through, until everything is well blended. If it is very thick, add a bit more olive oil. Add the cheese and pulse until blended in.
  • Cook the cavatappi according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the cooking water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (more if it seems dry) and half of the roasted tomatoes (discard the thyme sprigs), and transfer to a serving bowl. Distribute the rest of the tomatoes over the pasta, dollop the pesto on top, and toss. Add more olive oil if desired. Serve hot, warm or cold.


Nutrition Information

Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 868mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1804IU | Vitamin C: 74mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg

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