Pesto & tomato pasta with crispy crumbs

Pesto & tomato pasta with crispy crumbs

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 5
This simple yet special storecupboard supper will save the day if you need to rustle something up with a moment's notice

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal659
  • fat29g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs82g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre5g
  • protein22g
  • salt1.51g
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  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 190g jar basil pesto



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • few capers or olives (optional)
    Capers in bowl



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. As they…

  • 140g white bread - stale or fresh, whizzed into crumbs (or 140g/5oz breadcrumbs)
  • 50g pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan, or vegetarian alternative (optional)



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 350g/12oz-400g/14oz linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle or whatever you have in the cupboard


  1. Gently cook the onion and half the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 10 mins until soft. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and simmer for 15-20 mins until saucy. Stir in half the pesto, some seasoning and a few capers or olives, if you have them. Cover and keep warm.

  2. While the sauce is simmering, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Toss the crumbs in a large baking tray with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, the rest of the garlic, the pine nuts and Parmesan, if Simple yet special storecupboard supper using. Bake for 10 mins, stirring a few times, until golden. Dot over the butter and return to the oven for 2 mins more.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta. Drain, reserving a little cooking water. Stir through the sauce with a splash of cooking water to loosen, if you need to, ripple through the remaining pesto and serve scattered with golden crumbs.

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Comments, questions and tips

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27th Sep, 2012
Appreciated by children & adults alike, sometimes can't be bothered to do the crumbs, just use grated Parmesan on top. Easy to make and freeze half for next time!
26th Mar, 2012
Sacla organic pesto is suitable for vegetarians. It costs a bit more though.
1st Feb, 2012
Lovely dish! Though, next time I think I'll skip the oven and toast the breadcrumbs in a pan.
3rd Dec, 2011
The crispy crumbs really made this recipe, they were very tasty and it was a nice contrast in texture. The family keep asking for this one, so it must be good.
1st Oct, 2011
Jacqueline I hope this helps. There is a pesto out now called florentino (IT IS VEGETARIAN). There is either tomato or basil. It can be found in some supermarkets, sometimes in the free from section and in many health food shops. Blondie I am told it is really tasty with meatballs.
19th Sep, 2011
This was a really tasty pasta sauce and the garlicky crispy crumbs on top were delicious. I dropped one star in my rating because it took a while to prepare, given that this is essentially a simple tomato sauce and no meat (I'm a meat kinda girl). It was really good though.
17th Sep, 2011
Pesto is made of parmesan cheese: Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, so it’s definitely NOT suitable for vegetarians.
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