Thursday, September 24

Summer Pasta Recipe: Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil with Linguine or Farfalle

Cooking with Less Fuss, More Flavor

Enjoying more fast farm food from the kitchen garden

Tomatoes and basil on the third day of fall? You bet. The calendar may say summer is over, but the kitchen garden keeps to its own schedule, and mine says that tomato season is finally (finally!) in nearly full swing. The beautiful green and purple basil I've been picking since the end of June is still going gangbusters, too.

There's no better—or simpler—way to celebrate your garden fresh tomatoes and basil than to toss them with hot pasta, but adding this quick sun-dried tomato and artichoke pesto to the mix brings the dish to a whole other level.

I've made this with larger tomatoes chopped into chunks, but cherry tomatoes really work best. A mixture of red and yellow looks especially nice. I like to make this with fettuccine or farfalle (because bowties are always so much fun), but other pasta shapes would probably be good, too.

The edges of the basil start to darken pretty quickly after chopping, but I doubt you'll hear any complaints. This dish is perfect as a light main course or would go well alongside grilled beef or chicken, lamb leg steaks (I love these), or even lamb chops. Lately I've been eating it for breakfast—adding even more chopped basil when I'm halfway through.

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Pesto
Adapted from Two Blue Lemons

**Click here to print this recipe**

August 2010 update: While mixing up the third or fourth batch of this quick and easy pesto, I took a cue from my favorite basil pesto recipe and added some fresh tomatoes. Yum. This new version is a little thinner than the original, with more tomato flavor and fewer calories: recipe here.

I love pestos and am a sucker for both sun dried tomatoes and any recipe that calls for canned artichoke hearts, so of course this recipe from Anna at Two Blue Lemons caught my eye.

When I got to the part where she instructs you to use LOTS of fresh basil and LOTS of cherry tomatoes—and explains how she prefers dishes that contain more 'other' than pasta—I knew I was going to love it.

I swapped the 1/4 cup of pine nuts in the pesto for my favorite Pecorino Romano, but you could certainly use both.

The key word here is unmoderation. Apply my More, More, More philosophy with gusto when you make this, because you really can't have too much of anything here—unless of course you devour it all yourself.

Linguine, Fettuccine, or Farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to package
1 cup reserved pasta water
Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Pesto (recipe below)
LOTS of cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
LOTS of fresh basil, chopped into thin strips (chiffonade)
Plenty of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

Place the hot drained pasta in a large bowl. Stir some of the reserved pasta water into the pesto to thin it out, and then toss the pesto with the pasta, along with some of the fresh basil.

At this point you can either toss the pasta with lots of cherry tomatoes and more basil, or portion it out and then top each serving with the cherry tomatoes and basil. Either way, be sure to sprinkle plenty of freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan on top and pass the pepper grinder.

Sun Dried Tomato and Artichoke Pesto
Makes about 1½ cups of pesto, enough to toss with 8 to 16 ounces of pasta

You can quickly whip this scrumptious pesto up while the pasta water boils, or make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. It also makes a wonderful spread when mixed with cream cheese and grated Pecorino Romano. I'm looking forward to enjoying it long after tomato and basil season are over.

I've been using sun dried tomatoes packed in oil to make this, and I like to cover the rest of the tomatoes in the jar with olive oil in order to make more of the delicious tomato-flavored oil. Rehydrated dried tomatoes would probably work fine, too, though you'll probably have to add a little more olive oil.

When I have an abundance of San Marzano paste/plum tomatoes in the garden, I slice them in half and use my dehydrator to dry them, a handy item that paid for itself with dried tomatoes alone.

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes (or rehydrated dried)
1/2 cup (1 ounce) finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or more if desired)
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Combine the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, and chopped garlic in the bowl of a food processor (I love my KitchenAid 12 cup food processor) and whiz until either smooth or still somewhat chunky, whichever you prefer. I like it best smooth, but it's also nice to have some of the sun dried tomato chunks left.

With the machine running, drizzle in the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, adding more if desired. Salt to taste. The pesto will keep in a covered dish in the fridge for several days.

More Farmgirl Fare recipes starring fresh tomatoes and/or basil:
Homemade Tomato Vegetable Juice
Quick & Easy Gazpacho
Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce
(no blanching required!)
Fiesta Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip
(and going on factory tours)
Savory Tomato Pesto Pie with a No Fail Biscuit Crust
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Tomato Pesto Pizza, My Basil Pesto Recipe, & A Simple Tomato Salad
Three No-Cook Summer Recipes: Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, Easy Vegetarian Tacos, & High Kickin' Tomato Dressing
Cream Cheese & Tomato Sandwiches On Italian Black Olive Cheeks
The Easiest Greek Salad Ever
(featured on
My Seven Second Tomato Glut Solution
Saving the Harvest with No Sugar Green Tomato Relish

Purple Basil Pesto and the Easiest White Bean Dip/Spread Recipe Ever
Colors of Summer Salad with Fresh Basil
Summer in a Bowl with Fresh Basil
All About Chives & How To Make Herbed Yogurt Cheese

Care for canned artichokes?
(they're a staple in my farmhouse pantry)
White Bean and Artichoke Dip/Spread with Rosemary and Kalamata Olives
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip
Quick & Healthy Cream (or Not) of Artichoke Soup
Easy Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Onions, Garlic, Garbanzos, and Artichokes
Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup
Swiss Chard and Artichoke White Pizza

Growing Tomatoes:
Growing Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes & How To Save Your Own Tomato Seeds
Growing Kellogg's Breakfast Tomatoes and a Colors of Summer Salad
Planting Tomatoes Later is Better than Never (I Think)
How To Freeze Tomatoes the Really Easy Way (and Why I Don't Do Much Canning Anymore)
(lots of helpful comments from other gardeners here)
Growing Tomatoes: How Many Plants Do You Need? (more helpful comments here, too)

And Basil:
How To Keep Your Basil Growing Into Fall
Beautiful Basil Seedlings in the Greenhouse
Volunteer Basil in the Kitchen Garden
Basil Gone Wild - and Happy Pollinators

How To and - More Importantly - How Not to Store Fresh Basil
Bad Luck with Basil and Some Basil Growing Tips

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the finally ripe foodie farm blog where the couple of dozen basil plants in the kitchen garden are so big they're starting to topple over. We have a lot of basil this year—and I am way behind in the pesto making department.


  1. Hmmm...if my tomatoes do better next year, I could look into drying a few.

  2. Wow, those recipes are making my mouth water! Yumm!! :-)

  3. I have been dehydrating my cherry tomatoes. Next year I plan to plant a lot more! This recipe looks perfect for them! Thanks for posting the whole thing.

  4. I would never get The Shepherd (Mr. Meat and Potatoes) to go for a dish like this, but he sure might like those Baby Shortbread Bites! They look yummy! You've sure been busy - hope the new barn goes up as quickly as the old one came down. Cheers, T.

  5. Hi there, I've been following along for a little while now...salivating at your flair in the kitchen (that doesn't sound quite right...) anyhoo here's a fabulous chutney that I've made befoer and loved. Don't be put off by the LONG list of ingredients, it's worth it. The original recpie is from a local magazine and it can be found here:[IGcms_nodes][IGcms_nodesUID]=41919e0c23a2dfc7e3828139040e57cb

    "This chutney is a great thing to make if you’ve got more tomatoes than you need and want to keep some for a rainy day. It never lasts long in my house – a few poppadoms or a bit of toasted cheese and it’s gone! If you
    want to preserve it though, make sure you sterilise your jars by rinsing them in boiling water before you start.

    Makes about 2 x 300g jars
    EASY 30 mins

    2kg ripe tomatoes
    1 clove
    5ml cumin seeds
    5ml sea salt
    olive oil
    3ml black mustard seeds
    3 small fresh green chillies, halved and seeded
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
    a small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
    5 curry leaves, optional
    1 red onion, finely sliced
    150g brown sugar
    200ml cider vinegar
    salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste
    juice of 1 lime

    1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and throw in the tomatoes. Count to 20, tip the pan into a colander and refresh the tomatoes with cold running water.
    When they’re cool enough to handle, it should be easy to peel off the skin. Cut the peeled tomatoes in half, squeeze out the pips, discard them and chop the
    flesh into chunks.
    2. Grind the clove, cumin seeds and salt in a pestle and mortar.
    3. Heat a stainless-steel pot, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and pour in a good splash of oil. Add the mustard
    seeds and when they pop, add the
    ground-up spices, chilli, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and curry leaves. Stir for a few seconds, then add the onion. Turn the heat down and cook until soft and light brown.
    4. Add the tomatoes and cook for
    another 10 minutes until they break
    down to a mush. Add the sugar and
    vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer gently until thickened.
    5. Taste, season with salt, pepper and some lime juice and stir in the coriander leaves.
    6. Eat straight away or spoon into
    sterilised jars, close tightly, turn upsidedown, and leave to cool. This will preserve the chutney and it will then keep in a cool place for a month or two
    until you open it.

    You can serve this tomato pickle with poppadoms as a snack or as a starter with a curry, or dolloped on some hot bubbling cheese on toast!

  6. This looks so delicious. We had a tomato blight this year in New England so the tomatoes around here have not been good. Nevertheless, I am going to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. What a great blog! Thank you for mentioning Mother Earth News and our tomato survey. We appreciate it!

  8. A true blue farmgirl! The good life! Thanks for the recipe!


  9. Remember that summer you had almost no basil or tomatoes? Can't remember which it was, or if I'm mixing up the years. This is just how I love to eat thin spagetti - loads and loads of basil, salt, pepper. And that artichoke pesto? Mmmmm.

  10. This looks so simple and delicious....we still have tomatoes also; this Missouri summer was so different!

  11. How fun to see my recipe on your site (which I love!)!

    Thank you for your kind words; I'm so glad you enjoyed the Pesto and shared it with your readers.

    I hope you're still enjoying the last of those gorgeous summer tomatoes!


  12. That photo is so delicious I wish I could take a forkful right off the screen! YUM!!! I gotta make this now!

  13. I made tonight. I added back the pine nuts, plus extra garlic. OMG was it delicious!

    I made it with homegrown/dried cherry tomatoes and basil. As a new gardener, that always excites me when I use my own ingredients.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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