Food & dining

The confident cook

Recipe: Think of this pasta with melted cherry tomatoes and arugula pesto as your new go-to dish

Pasta with melted cherry tomatoes and arugula pesto
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
Pasta with melted cherry tomatoes and arugula pesto

Think of this as your new weeknight pasta, tossed with ingredients from your own garden or a farmers’ market. “Melt” cherry tomatoes in a heavy-bottomed pan with garlic and olive oil to amp up their sweetness; the tender texture integrates well with small curly pasta. The cherry tomatoes on their own make a fine side to grilled swordfish or chicken kebabs. For this dish, whir arugula with a little basil into a pesto — arugula gives the sauce an appealing, bitter edge — and thin the pesto with pasta cooking water. To make sure that you don’t forget to save the cooking liquid, place a measuring cup under the colander as soon as you remove it from the cabinet to catch the water. Stir in the tomatoes and a handful of fresh arugula and basil, then toss with Parmesan. Classic tastes of summer in one bowl.

Pasta with melted cherry tomatoes and arugula pesto

Serves 4

TOMATOES

2cups cherry tomatoes
1clove garlic, smashed
¼cup olive oil
¼teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt, to taste

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1. In a heavy bottom pot, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, crushed red pepper, and salt.

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2. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften and the skins begin to wrinkle. Remove and discard the garlic.

PESTO

3cups baby arugula, tough stems removed
1cup fresh basil leaves, stemmed
½cup olive oil
1clove garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
½cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a blender, combine arugula, basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

2. Work the mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender often.

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PASTA

Salt and pepper, to taste
1pound gemelli or other small pasta
1cup baby arugula
½cup torn, fresh basil leaves
¼cup grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pot and remove 1 cup cooking water (or set a measuring cup under the colander to catch the water).

2. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the pesto and enough of the pasta water to make a loose mixture. Add the arugula and stir until it wilts. Gently fold in the tomatoes.

3. Divide the mixture among 4 pasta bowls or deep plates. Garnish with torn basil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at kboehmgoodnick@gmail.com