A simple pesto pasta recipe made with tomato ricotta pesto, balsamic burst cherry tomatoes, and topped with the most addicting lemony panko bread crumbs. The perfect dinner made with a few pantry staples and lots of love.
This post was developed in paid partnership with Filippo Berio. Thank you for being supportive of me working with brands I use and love!
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How to make the best pesto pasta with tomato ricotta pesto
If you’ve ever made pesto pasta before and found it to be clumpy and dry, but then tried to rescue it by adding olive oil only to end up with a greasy pesto pasta, you’ll love this recipe. It produces the most velvety, creamy pesto pasta you will ever have. Throughout this post I’ll be sharing all my pasta making secrets!
This pesto pasta recipe isn’t just any old pesto pasta. It’s made with a smooth and creamy tomato ricotta pesto, balsamic burst cherry tomatoes, and the most addicting lemony panko bread crumbs.
What is tomato ricotta pesto?
You may not have heard of a tomato ricotta pesto before, but trust me, you’re going to fall in head over heals in love with it. Yes, you can totally fall in love with your food. If I could legally marry this pasta, I would.
The tomato ricotta pesto from Filippo Berio is based on an age-old Sicilian recipe that combines the sweetness of tomatoes with the smoothness of ricotta cheese and the rich taste of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This creamy pesto is my favorite from the Filippo Berio line. It’s made with tomatoes, ricotta cheese, cashew nuts, Grana Padano cheese, basil and Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
It perks up any pasta or pasta salad dish and can be used in dips and hummus, too.
If you want to take a fun quiz to get your “pestonality” and find the pesto you might like best, check out Filippo Berio’s pestonality quiz! It’s a quick little 8-question quiz that matches a pesto to your personality.
Balsamic burst cherry tomatoes
The balsamic burst tomatoes in here are out of this world and definitely something to swoon over. They’re smothered in garlicky goodness, fresh herbs, and then finished with Filippo Berio’s balsamic vinegar to give them a perfect sweet but tart finish.
These tomatoes are BURSTING with flavor (literally), and so easy to make. I’m not kidding, they’re ready in about 5 minutes.
How to make balsamic burst cherry tomatoes:
These flavorful tomatoes are made in one pan with ingredients you probably already have at home.
First, heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat until it’s scorching hot. Then add the tomatoes, garlic, fresh chopped basil, thyme, shallot, a pinch of sugar, and some salt and pepper.
TIP: the tomatoes are going to pop and sizzle the second you put them in there, so you’ll definitely want to use a splatter guard. I like these better than using a lid because they allow the steam to escape.
Toss the tomatoes around to get them coated in all the olive oil and fresh herbs. Cover them with a splatter guard and allow them to cook for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Right before you remove them from the heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Lemony panko bread crumbs
These bread crumbs are addicting AF. I mean I was eating them straight out of the pan by the spoonful. What? We have to taste while we cook, right?!
They are truly something special. The lemony panko bread crumbs bring in a bright lemony flavor with lots of texture you don’t normally get in pasta.
To make them, just heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Then add the panko, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Toss and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the panko is toasted. Right before you remove them from the heat, squeeze some lemon juice over the toasted panko and stir.
How to make Tomato Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Balsamic Burst Cherry Tomatoes And Lemony Panko
I always start off by boiling the water for the pasta and cooking it while I prepare everything else, because that takes the longest.
While the pasta cooks, I make the lemony panko, then transfer it to a bowl (you’ll want to keep it separate from the pasta if you plan on having leftovers). Using the same pan I used for the panko, I’ll make the balsamic burst tomatoes. This recipe is so great because you only have to clean two pans!
When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve some of the pasta water (I’ll tell you exactly why in the next section), drain it and transfer it to a large bowl with the pesto and about 1/4 cup of the past water, then mix until fully combined. You can add more pasta water if necessary but make sure you’re only adding 1/4 of a cup at a time so it doesn’t get watery. I ended up using about 1/3 of a cup.
Then mix in the tomatoes and lemony panko bread crumbs. To finish, sprinkle some fresh chopped basil and freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese and serve right away.
Note: if you plan on having leftovers, only mix in the panko bread crumbs with the pasta you are eating right away. I always have leftovers, so I like to keep my panko bread crumbs in a Weck tulip jar like this one.
Pasta making tips and secrets
Making the perfect pasta is a true art. There are so many “beliefs” regarding shortcuts to making pasta, things that I even inherited watching my mother do while I was growing up that are just wrong. Sorry mom!
Pasta do’s and don’ts
- rinse pasta
- add olive oil to the pasta at any point in time
- break long noodles before putting them in the pot
- mix the pasta and sauce in the same pot you cooked it in
Pasta should be starchy and if you rinse the pasta or add olive oil, you will lose some of that starchiness. The starch allows the sauce to adhere to the noodles. If you add oil to pasta, the sauce will slide right off.
- use a tall pot for long pasta to keep it from sticking
- salt the pasta water
- add spaghetti or other long pasta to the pot whole, don’t break it!
- save your pasta water
Short pots are for short pasta, and long pasta needs a lot of room to swim! The first time you season your pasta is while it’s cooking in the pasta water, so it’s very important to use salt in the pasta water. I use 2-3 tablespoons of salt for about 6 cups of water. Reserving the pasta water to mix in with the pesto will create a nice velvety and thick pesto sauce without adding tons and tons of extra oil.
Try these on the side
Here are some of my favorite mains and side dishes to eat with this pesto pasta!
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Tomato Ricotta Pesto Pasta With Balsamic Burst Cherry Tomatoes And Lemony Panko
- 1 pound bucatini pasta
- 6 ounces Filippo Berio Tomato Ricotta Pesto
- romano cheese, to taste
Balsamic Burst Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Classic Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio Sautéing Olive Oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, mined
- pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil, more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 shallot
- salt and pepper, to taste
Lemony Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more if you like heat!
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Sautéing Olive Oil
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When finished, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta using a colander.
- Transfer the pasta back into the pot and mix in the tomato ricotta pesto. Add about 1/4 of a cup of pasta water at a time to thin out the sauce to your liking.
Lemony Panko Bread Crumbs
- While the pasta is cooking, add 2 tbsps of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the panko, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes, stir to coat the panko and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the panko is toasted. Right before removing it from the heat, add lemon juice from half the lemon.
Balsamic Burst Cherry Tomatoes
- Using the same skillet you used for the lemony panko, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat over high heat. Once the pan is scorching hot add all the tomato ingredients except for the balsamic vinegar. The tomatoes will sizzle right away so it's best to cover them with a splatter guard. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Right before removing them from the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and transfer to a plate.
Bring It All Together
- Add the tomatoes and the panko to the pot with the pasta, mix, and divide between plates. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and freshly shredded romano cheese.
- If you plan on having leftovers, only mix in the panko bread crumbs with the pasta you are eating right away. I always have leftovers, so I like to keep my panko bread crumbs in a Weck tulip jar like this one.
- The tomatoes are going to pop and sizzle the second you put them in the pan, so you’ll definitely want to use a splatter guard. I like these better than using a lid because they allow the steam to escape.
- Nutrition information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.