Tomato Pesto Penne

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves and Parmesan cheese all blended with olive oil.

Pesto can be made both in red and green versions. The ingredients and methods may vary from region to region and according to taste.


For Pesto:

  • 3-4 peeled and roughly chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 bunch basil leaves (You can also substitute it with coriander leaves but it would change the flavour)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • A pinch of koshers salt or any course salt
  • A pinch of pepper

To temper the sauce (Optional):

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Butter
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds or Saunf

For Pasta:

  • 250-300 g of Penne Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of Crushed Garlic
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water and a drizzle of Olive oil to avoid it from sticking, following packet directions until tender.
  • Drain the pasta under cold water to stop it from cooking further and set aside.
  • In a food processor, add all the ingredients mentioned for the Pesto sauce except olive oil.
  • Blitz the mixture and add olive oil gradually.
  • Remove it and store it in an air tight container. If you wish you use it for later on add olive oil to the surface and store. This keeps the pesto fresh for longer.
  • If you would like to temper your pesto, in another saucepan heat olive oil and butter.
  • Add the cumin and fennel seeds till they crackle, do not burn it and add bay leaf.
  • Let the flavours infuse in the oil. Then add your pesto sauce. Cook it for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and let the mixture cool till room temperature.
  • Blitz it once again so that the seeds get mixed well.
  • Finally for the pasta take a saucepan and heat olive oil and add crushed garlic to it.
  • Let it brown a bit and toss in your penne.
  • Add 2-3 spoonfuls of the home-made pesto or as much or less as you may like and toss well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove on a serving plate and garnish with coriander.

Tip: This can also be served cold as a salad. You can add chicken, meat or shrimps as you may like.


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