Pasta With Pesto and Fresh Tomatoes

Trofie pasta with pesto and fresh tomatoes

The Spruce/Danette St. Onge

  • Total: 12 mins
  • Prep: 2 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 2-3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
393 Calories
4g Fat
77g Carbs
17g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2-3 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 393
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 26mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
Protein 17g
Calcium 555mg 43%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Classic, Genovese-style basil pesto is typically paired in its home region of Liguria with either trofie, a short, thin twisted pasta, or trenette, a long, thin, flat noodle, similar to tagliatelle

Trenette or trofie with pesto is often traditionally served with green beans and potatoes cooked together in the pot, a dish known as "pasta al pestoavvantiaggiato" (pesto pasta with an advantage). It's a tasty combination, but the double-starch mixture of potatoes with pasta is also a bit heavy, making it a better choice for a fall or wintertime dish.

In the summer, I prefer to make trofie tossed with pesto sauce and fresh tomatoes. The sweetness and tang of the juicy tomatoes pairs wonderfully with the rich, savory nutty-herbal flavors of the pesto and the pleasing chew of the trofie.


  • 9 ounces/250 grams trofie (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cup classic Genovese-style basil pesto
  • 1 cup fresh cherry or grape tomatoes (halved; or quartered cocktail tomatoes, or cored vine tomatoes cut into large chunks)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon butter
  • Optional: Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (freshly grated for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring a large, covered pot of water to boil over high heat.

  3. When the water reaches a rolling boil, remove the lid and add 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt. When the water comes back to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes if dried, shorter if fresh). 

  4. Drain well, retaining about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

  5. Toss the pasta together with the pesto, tomatoes, and a bit of the cooking water (add just a splash at a time, while stirring) as needed to help the sauce melt and adhere to the pasta. Some people also like to add a dab of butter at this point, for a richer, silkier pesto sauce. That's up to you. 

  6. Serve immediately, with grated cheese for sprinkling on top, if desired. 


  • Fresh trofie are the best (sometimes these are sold together with other fresh, packaged pastas in a market's refrigerated section), but some brands, such as Barilla, also make a dried version. 
  • If you can't find trofie at all, any short (and preferably twisty, although not necessarily) pasta will also work, such as farfalle (bowties), gemelli, fusilli, penne, etc.
  • Flavorful cherry, grape, or cocktail tomatoes work best in this dish, but if you can't find them, ripe and flavorful vine tomatoes also work.