Summer is the perfect time to make your own basil pesto. It’s amazing what you can do by just mixing a few basic ingredients together. That’s the beauty of Italian cuisine. I like pairing the pasta with oven baked cherry tomatoes, adding beautiful colour and acidity to the dish.


Serves 4

300 to 400g bucatini
2 tbsp pine nuts
 ½ a clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped (keeping a few leaves for serving)
100g freshly grated pecorino romano
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the baked tomatoes:
4 branches cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
½ tbsp of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the branches of cherry tomatoes in an oven dish. Sprinkle over the sugar, season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes burst open, if they darken too much reduce the temperature.

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil while you get the pesto ready. Toast the pine nuts in a pan for a minute or two, remove just as they begin to colour, this will enhance their flavour. Using a pestle and mortar or a food processor, combine the basil leaves with the garlic, adding a little olive oil. Add three quarter of the pine nuts, half the cheese, and continue grinding, adding olive oil and cheese progressively, till you get the right flavour and consistency. Add the remaining pine nuts (leaving them full), season with black pepper. Salt should not be necessary as the pecorino romano should salt the pesto sufficiently.

Cook the bucatini al dente, time as indicated on the packaging. Drain and place back in the pan, stir the pesto through and transfer to a serving dish. Finish with some grated Parmesan, a few basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a good grind of black pepper. Place the baked tomatoes to the side.


This recipe is from Marina Bautier's cookbook Vendredi.