clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Inspired by a recipe we made at Fork every summer as soon as the Branch Creek tomatoes began arriving at the restaurant. 

Notes: Toasted pine nuts or walnuts would be a nice addition here. 


  • 1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. (or more) cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 lb. ciliegene (small balls) mozzarella
  • fresh basil*
  • shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
  • fresh cracked black pepper

* If you have small tender leaves, leave them whole; otherwise, chiffonade the basil.



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season well with kosher salt. Add pasta and cook till al dente, about 9 minutes or about 2 minutes less than what package instructions suggest. (Pasta will continue cooking as it is tossed with the other ingredients so it’s best to undercook it a little bit.) Drain pasta, reserving a cup or more of the pasta cooking liquid. Do not rinse.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds. Add pasta and pesto. Cook 1 minute, stirring to coat pasta with the pesto. Taste. Adjust with more salt, pepper, pesto, or a few tablespoon of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to make it saucier. Add the mozzarella. Stir to incorporate. Add the fresh basil and remove from the heat.
  3. Divide pasta among bowls and sprinkle each with some fresh shavings of Parmigiano. Crack the pepper over top and serve.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes