Spaghetti with Quick Pesto Tomato Sauce, as seen on Food Network's Symon's Dinners Cooking Out, Season 3.
Recipe courtesy of Michael Symon

Spaghetti with Quick Pesto Tomato Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings



  1. Set up your grill for cooking with direct and indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, build the coals on one side only. If using a gas grill, heat one side only.
  2. Make the tomato sauce: Combine the tomatoes along with their juices, butter, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, onion halves and a pinch of salt in a very large saucepan or skillet. Place over the indirect-heat side of the grill and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and using a potato masher to smash the whole tomatoes at the halfway mark. Discard the onion and bay leaves.
  3. Make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the garlic and nuts until chopped. Add the basil with a pinch of salt and pulse until it makes coarse crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the Parmesan and olive oil. Mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place a large pot of salted water over the direct-heat side of the grill and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the package directions, then scoop out into the tomato sauce, adding 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss to coat, then remove from the heat. (If the pasta is too dry, add some more pasta water.) Stir half the pesto mixture into the pasta. Plate and serve immediately with more pesto over the top.