Dairy Farmers of Canada

Fresh Tomato and Pesto Penne with Parmesan

Our dietitians' favourite

This recipe is taken from the 2007 Milk Calendar. This is the Fresh Tomato and Pesto Penne with Parmesan recipe.

  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cooking: 15 min
Yields 4 servings
fresh tomato and pesto penne with parmesan


  • 12 oz (375 g) penne or other short pasta
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) Milk
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) basil pesto
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • 2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes halved
  • Freshly grated Canadian Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
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In large saucepan, cook penne according to directions on package; drain immediately and return to saucepan.

Whisk flour into milk and pour over pasta in pan. Stir in pesto; cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 min or until sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil.


Cooking Tip:Look for prepared basil pesto in the refrigerated section of the grocery store with the fresh pastas or in jars with the tomato pasta sauces. Make sure basil is the first ingredient in the list on the label.

For the Adventurous: Add 1 19 oz can (540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed, with pesto. Add 1 cup (250 mL) mini or quartered bocconcini cheese and 1/3 cup (80 mL) slivered fresh basil with tomatoes.

Healthy Eating Tip:If you're pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant you need to pay special attention to four key nutrients: folate, iron, Vitamin D and calcium. This recipe is an excellent source of three of these hard to get nutrients. A focus on fibre and fluids may also be helpful. Follow these tips:

  • Select a whole grain pasta to boost the fibre in this dish.
  • Add cold milk, chocolate milk or even a decaf latte to top up Vitamin D, calcium and fluid.
  • Sprinkle with extra Parmesan for a calcium boost.
  • Pair this dish with a spinach and orange salad to complement the excellent source of folate in this dish.
  • Add thin slices of cooked roast beef or cooked beans to maximize the iron your body can use.

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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 543 Calories
Protein: 19 g
Carbohydrate: 82 g
Fat: 15 g
Fibre: 5 g
Sodium: 775 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 22 % / 242 mg
Folate: 89 %
Magnesium: 32 %
Niacin: 39 %
Thiamin: 46 %