Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
This pasta dish is almost no-cook. Really, the only cooking required is the boiling of the pasta. Once that’s done, simply whip up a quick almond pesto and toss it with sweet cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – mix in the orecchiette pasta, and dinner is ready! It’s just as delicious warm as it is as cold.
This is a super easy weeknight pasta that can easily work for anything from family dinner, to a picnic or even a dinner party. Pair it with Giada’s simple candied lemon and arugula salad, and voila!
Orecchiette Pasta with Almond Pesto
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided, plus more for the pasta water
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes quartered
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese diced into 1/3 inch pieces
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- Add the almonds to the top of a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times until finely chopped. Add the basil, olive oil and half of the salt. Puree until combined and almost smooth. Pour the pesto into a large bowl. Fold in the cheese, tomatoes and diced mozzarella and toss well to combine.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a pasta spider, remove the pasta from the water and add directly to the bowl with the pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss everything together until evenly coated. Serve warm or at room temperature.