Cook the Book: Mostaccioli with Tomato 'Pesto'

Cook the Book: Mostaccioli with Tomato 'Pesto'

Mostaccioli with Tomato 'Pesto'

This recipe is from Johanne Killeen and George Germon's On Top of Spaghetti. I've actually had this at the couple's restaurant, Al Forno, and it is seriously delicious.

More recipes adapted from this book: Linguine with Gorgonzola and Fresh Spinach

  • Yield:6 as a main course


  • 1/4 cup (one 6-ounce can) tomato paste, preferably organic
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato juice
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1 pound dried mostaccioli, penne, or rigatoni
  • Freshly grated pecorino Romano


  1. 1.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  2. 2.

    Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, cayenne, tomato juice, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Run the motor until you have a smooth purée. Set aside at room temperature while you cook the pasta. (You can cover and refrigerate the pesto, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before boiling the pasta.)

  3. 3.

    Generously salt boiling water; drop in dried pasta. Cook, according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Add enough of the pesto to coat noodles generously. Add a little pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if pesto seems too thick. Sprinkle with Romano, and pass more cheese and any remaining pesto at the table.