Orecchiette with pesto and sundried tomatoes

Orecchiette with pesto and sundried tomatoes

Recipe by Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Photo by Rachel Zammit Cutajar

Pesto is a versatile sauce that can be used with a number of dishes. Of course it’s great in pasta – served hot or cold, but it also makes a great accompaniment for fish, meat and even salads. With the glut of basil available it’s really easy to make and can be stored in the fridge or even frozen for those cold winter months when you really need a taste of summer. You can even turn this dish vegan if substitute the cheese for nutritional yeast.


Serves 4



  • 2 packed cups basil leaves, washed with big stalks removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g Parmiggiano Reggiano (or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast for the vegan version)
  • 200g pine nuts
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g orecchiette 
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Small handful sundried tomatoes (cherry if possible, or sliced into small pieces)
  • 100g pine nuts
  • Handful fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan flakes to serve (or more nutritional yeast)


  1. To make the pesto, start by toasting the pine nuts in a dry frying pan (you can toast all the pine nuts in one go and save some for garnish), tossing regularly to make sure they don’t burn. This should take approx. 3 mins.
  2. Put the basil, garlic, Parmiggiano Reggiano (or nutritional yeast for the vegan version), chilli flakes, if using, and toasted pine nuts into a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.
  3. Add the olive oil and blitz until incorporated. 
  4. Season with salt, pepper and mix through.
  5. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the packet instructions.
  6. Strain the pasta, reserving half a cup of the liquid the pasta was boiled in.
  7. Mix together the pasta, water, pesto, tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. 
  8. Serve with freshly torn basil leaves, pine nuts and Parmesan shavings. 

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