Something For The Weekend – Pesto And Tomato Pasta

This recipe pulls together a few store cupboard ingredients to make an easy pasta dish that’s ideal for a family weekend supper.


We don’t always have time to go shopping, so it’s handy to have a few store cupboard recipes in your repertoire. This tasty pasta dish is uncomplicated enough for the kids, while the topping makes it feel a little more grown-up.

Prep time:  15 mins approx

Cook time:  40 mins approx

Serves: 4


1 onion, white or red

3 garlic cloves

2 400g cans chopped tomatoes

200g jar basil pesto

150g white bread, stale or fresh

50g pine nuts

4tbsp olive oil

4tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

25g butter

1-2tsp sugar

350g dried pasta shapes – whatever you have in the cupboard

Salt & freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Roughly chop the pine nuts and whizz the bread into breadcrumbs using a food processor.

Heat half the olive oil in a heavy based pan and tip in the onions and half the garlic. Cook gently for around ten minutes until soft. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it has a sauce-like consistency.

Mix in half the pesto and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and keep warm until needed.

While the sauce is simmering, toss the breadcrumbs in the remaining olive oil and garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan. Spread onto a large baking tray and place in the oven for ten minutes. Remove to dot over the butter, then bake for 2-3 more minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain well, reserving a little of the cooking water. Stir the sauce, loosening with the water if needed. Swirl the remaining pesto through the sauce and serve on top of the pasta, scattering the golden crumbs over the whole dish.


To make a more adult version – or if your children like them – you can add a handful of capers or olives to the sauce when you first stir in the pesto.

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