Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

For the tomatoes
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the pesto
6-ounces (1/3-1/2 pound) linguine
1 bunch fresh basil (about 1-1 1/2 cups), stems discarded
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the cherry tomatoes cut side up on a large baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined.
  3. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the tomatoes, making sure that each tomato is covered with a generous amount of crumbs.
  4. Bake until tomatoes are soft and cooked through, and the breadcrumb mixture is starting to brown on top, about 20 minutes.
  5. While the tomatoes cook, make the pesto. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the linguine one minute less than the instructions specify on the pasta’s package. Do not drain.
  6. Meanwhile, place the basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper in the food processor. (Since the flavors are the same as the breadcrumbs, don’t worry about cleaning out the processor in between the steps.)
  7. Pulse until chunky, add 1/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until a thick paste forms. Add more olive oil if necessary; take care, you do not want the pesto to be super liquidy.
  8. Pour about 1/3 cup of the pesto into a large bowl. Transfer the cooked pasta to the bowl with a slotted spoon. Add a splash (about 2 tablespoons) of pasta water to the bowl. Stir the pasta with pesto. Add more pesto or pasta water, if necessary. You want the pasta to be coated with a nice, smooth layer of pesto. Add the cooked tomatoes and all the bread crumbs. Toss to combine. Serve immediately with more freshly grated parmesan and cracked black pepper.

Serves 2.

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