I love it when Victor heads into the kitchen! I know I’m in for a treat!

Our tomatoes are finally coming in at a pretty good rate – Not enough, yet, for a batch of sauce, but enough to have tomatoes at pretty much every meal. I made a tomato and bean salad Saturday night to serve with a flank steak, we  had a tomato an hot pepper salsa over a grilled pork loin on Thursday. Both really good but they were both just throw-togethers – no recipes.

Victor had seen a recipe in The Washington Post for a pesto that used fresh Roma tomatoes, but… we’ve found out Roma’s really don’t do well in our area.  That, of course, has never stopped us from creating something! The reality is, in just about any recipe, any good tomato will work – and if you are able to pick them from your own garden – even better!

Pesto Pantesco

adapted from The Washington Post

  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, if desired, and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (1 ounce) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup (1 ounce) packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • S&P, as desired
  • 1 pound cooked pasta or a dozen crostini, for serving (optional)

Step 1 In a food processor or blender, pulse together the tomatoes, almonds, capers, basil, mint and garlic until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Taste, and season with S&P, if desired.

Step 2 Toss with pasta, use as a topping for bruschetta, crostini, or serve as you’d like.

He did peel the tomatoes this time around. We have a bad-boy Ninja blender/food processor, so it can blend things a bit better than your basic budget Hamilton Beach, but it’s still a personal preference. If you have the time, go for it. If not, don’t worry about it.

Victor knew it was going to go over pasta and thought he might make some – he does make some awesome pasta. We had a box of squid ink and pepper pappardelle, however, and he decided to add shrimp to the pesto and serve it with the pappardelle. I have absolutely no idea where we picked up the pasta, but it’s been around for a while – just waiting for the right sauce. And this was definitely it!


The pesto screamed fresh tomatoes – it definitely was the prominent flavor – and, I think the peeled tomatoes may have helped enhance that fresh-from-the-garden flavor – totally contradicting my earlier claim, above.. And then, everything else came into play – the basil and mint, the garlic, the almonds in the background… Bold and subtle at the same time.


The pasta was the perfect foil, and the perfectly-cooked shrimp added another layer of flavor and texture.

The pesto recipe made about 2-2 1/2 cups – enough for dinner and enough to go into the freezer for another great meal or two – a little goes a long way.

And just for grins and giggles, here is the comic Pickles by Brian Crane.

It just described our refrigerator, perfectly. As I do the majority of the grocery shopping…

… Guilty, as charged.