$20, 20-Minute Meals: Capellini with Fresh Tomato Pesto + Pecorino

Every week at Food52, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: Tomato sauce is updated for summertime -- and gets a jolt of personality along the way.

Capellini with Fresh Tomato Pesto + Pecorino

Capellini is a perfect pasta shape for summer: it cooks quickly and is best with just the whisper of a sauce to avoid a tangled mess on the plate. Pesto, an already beloved summer standby in my house, seemed like the perfect accompaniment -- with a twist, of course! I snagged some fresh tomatoes that were sitting on the counter to give my pesto a different flair from the traditional verdant variety. Twirled with the capellini, this sauce felt like the quickest summery response to a tomato sauce -- with a lot more personality. Next time I might try to switch up the herbs even more by adding a handful of parsley leaves or a few capers.

Capellini with Fresh Tomato Pesto + Pecorino

Serves 4

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sun-dried or regular tomato paste
1/2 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup crumbled walnuts
1/4 cup coarsely grated Pecorino, plus more for serving if desired
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving if desired
8 ounces capellini

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, walnuts, basil, pepper flakes and Pecorino; pulse to combine. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream until a thick sauce forms.

2. Add capellini to boiling water and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Divide pasta among bowls and top with pesto. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Save and print this recipe at Food52.

As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way.

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.

Photo by Caroline Wright