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Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Corn

Cooks in 45 minutes Difficulty Easy

Pesto Pasta with Asparagus, Corn, and Chickpeas

Recipe by thesal28_wpCourse: MainCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A note on my pesto. I am aware this is not a “traditional” recipe, as they make in Liguria, Italy with a mortar and pestle. I do believe that pesto made with a mortar and pestle has a heightened basil flavor, but I don’t like how quickly it turns brown. I have perfected my basil pesto technique, which guarantees that my pesto stays green for days (if stored with a layer of plastic wrap clinging directly to surface of pesto) in the refrigerator. I find it’s best to eat fresh pesto within 2-3 days, because the fresh garlic becomes increasingly pungent as time elapses.

Also, this is not a piping hot pasta dish. It is served at room temperature. The corn will cool down the pasta and prevent it from overheating the basil in the pesto. This is also a great make ahead dish. Just make sure you remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes in advance for optimal eating temperature.


  • 1 lb. pasta (use what you like- I prefer fusilli or farfalle)

  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and rinsed

  • 1 1/2 cup basil pesto (recipe below)

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Kosher salt

  • freshly cracked black pepper

  • grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

  • Pesto Ingredients
  • 2 cups basil leaves, clean and DRY

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (Easy stovetop method to toast your pine nuts: place in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan frequently. It takes about 8 min.)

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt


  • Make basil pesto using directions below.
  • Basil Pesto
  • When it comes to pesto, your food processor is not your friend. That is because it creates too much surface area, and exposes the basil to lots of oxygen, turning it brown. A blender, or tall receptacle and immersion blender is better. Place oil in blender or tall receptacle if using an immersion blender. Add garlic and only a third of your basil leaves. Cover your basil COMPLETELY with olive oil and blend (This is a vital step. It’s what prevents the basil from browning). Add another third of your basil, cover completely with oil, and blend. Repeat with remaining basil.  Add pine nuts and pulse until incorporated into basil purée. By hand, stir in grated cheese and Kosher salt. Set aside while you prepare pasta.
  • Preheat oven to 450. Toss tomatoes with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, basil, oregano, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper, and place on a 1/2 sheet pan (18×13). Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until burst and lightly browned. 
  • Bring 4-5 quarts of water and 2 tbsp Kosher salt to a boil in a large pot. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice, then add enough water so bowl is 2/3 full.
  • Add corn to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove corn with tongs or strainer and plunge immediately into ice bath. Once chilled, remove corn from ice bath and move to cutting board. Towel dry corn, cut kernels off cob, and set aside.
  • When tomatoes are almost done cooking, cook pasta according to instructions.
  • Once pasta is done cooking, drain and place back in pot. Add corn, 1 cup pesto, and 1/3 cup pecorino to pot, stirring to combine.  Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste, adding more pesto/cheese, as desired.  Divide pasta between plates and top with roasted tomatoes.
  • Serve immediately. Pass around additional Parmesan cheese.


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