A simple, light pesto pasta recipe with roasted cherry tomatoes and creamy ricotta cheese is a delicious, easy summer dinner idea.
This easy pasta recipe has been a favorite of mine since I first posted it all the way back in 2011. Pesto pasta is always a guaranteed winner but adding juicy roasted tomatoes and creamy ricotta takes it up a notch. And by roasting the tomatoes the sweetness gets coaxed out of them so this is a pretty spectacular vegetarian recipe all year round, even when tomatoes aren’t at their peak. Of course, using in-season tomatoes will result in something pretty spectacular.
Combining the cooked pasta with pesto (I used store-bought that I just thinned out with a little olive oil) with the roasting juices of the tomatoes (I could honestly eat it by the spoonful) and the creamed ricotta makes for the most delicious, easy sauce. Serve with plenty of fresh basil leaves and more ricotta for the ultimate meat-free meal.
How to make roasted tomatoes
Roasting tomatoes are a great way to use up tomatoes that might be beyond their best and are going soft but can just as easily be made with fresh tomatoes. Place tomatoes on a sheetpan (larger tomatoes can be roughly chopped, cherry and other baby varieties can be left whole) then drizzle with olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Place in a hot oven and allow to roast for 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes start to blister and release their juices. If using vine tomatoes, carefully remove them from the stems with a fork and use as directed.
What is the best pasta to use with pesto?
Any pasta shape works well with pesto but I love using long shapes to twirl and slurp.
How to use pesto with pasta
- If using thick, jarred pesto, thin it out slightly with olive oil.
- Never cook pesto, simply add to cooked pesto with a splash of the pasta cooking water then toss.
- Add freshly grated Parmesan to add even more flavor to the finished pasta dish.
Love pasta? Try these delicious vegetarian pasta recipes:
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Easy lemony spring pea pasta
- Sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad
- Easy creamy lemon garlic mushroom pasta
- Easy tomato cream rigatoni
- Garlic butter mushroom spinach spaghetti
Roasted tomato pesto pasta with ricotta
For the roasted tomatoes
- 500 g (1lb) cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
For the pasta
- 500 g (1lb) linguini (use any pasta shape of your choice)
- 250 g (1 cup) ricotta (I used creamed ricotta but you can use any ricotta you can find)
- ½ cup basil pesto
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430ºF.
- Place the tomatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle the cherry tomatoes with the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven and allow to roast for 30-45 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered and have release their juices.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente.
- Drain the pasta but reserve 2 cups of cooking water.
- When the tomatoes are cooked, carefully remove the stems (if using vine tomatoes) then toss with the pasta along with all of their cooking juices, the ricotta, basil pesto and a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water. Toss and add more water until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
- Serve with fresh basil leaves and more ricotta.
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Great flavor. Probably might benefit from adding chicken and maybe mushrooms to add alternative textures, maybe replacing some of the pasta. Great recipe overall!