Penne Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

AnyoneDSC_1172 else ridiculously happy with that alliteration in the title?  Only me?  That’s cool.  I’ll just revel in my literary awesomeness alone.

The one thing you should be ridiculously happy with is that warm weather is becoming more and more frequent and the promise of summer no longer seems like a cruel joke.  In a fit of joy I came up with this simple pasta dish to welcome the 70 degree weather we recently enjoyed.  Chicago then laughed in my face and this week we had 40 degree weather with rain and wind.  Thanks Windy City.  At least I have this pasta to keep my spirits up…

This would be an AWESOME dish to bring to your Memorial Day BBQ’s or parties because you can make a big batch and it doesn’t need to be served hot.  It also comes together quickly and tastes like you spent a ton of time on it.  I won’t tell that it only took you like 20 minutes!

Penne Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


  • 1 batch of spinach pesto (recipe below)
  • 1 package of penne pasta, whole wheat or gluten free (I used brown rice pasta)
  • 16 oz of fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Toss the cherry tomato slices with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread out on the sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are blackened.
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting, cook your pasta according to the package.  Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the pasta and the pesto and mix well.  Add in the roasted tomatoes and toss together.

Spinach Pesto

  • 1 cup tightly packed spinach leaves (I used fresh, but frozen can work too just don’t tightly pack the cup)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds (could also use sunflower seeds)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (I used homemade gluten free crumbs. Just pulse stale gluten free bread a few times to make crumbs)
  1.  In a blender or food processor, grind the seeds until powdery.  Add in the garlic and combine until you have a paste and then add in the spinach.  Pulse until everything is well combined
  2. Add in the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the pesto is creamy.  You might not need all 4 tbsp, I only used 3.
  3. Add in the salt and crumbs and blend everything together.

And that’s it.  The most labor intensive part of this meal is the pesto and that’s pretty much just hitting the food processor button a few times.  This is a good meal to make if you’re just starting out cooking.  It’s simple and nearly impossible to mess up.  Even if you burn the tomatoes you still have a pasta with pesto to console you.


What meal signals the beginning of summer to you?

Have a great Friday everyone!