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These are so good + easy to make and children approved!

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Pesto Pastina (Acini di Pepe) Cheesy Tomatoes

By Nadia Aidi
These are so good + easy to make and children approved!


  • 9 medium campari tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup acini di pepe
  • 2 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth, hot
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 anchovies, chopped into a paste + 1 tbsp of the olive oil its packed in
  • 8 oz fontina val d’aosta
  • Seasoned salt to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Crushed red peppers


  • 30 basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts


  • Add the pinenuts, garlic, basil and a drizzle of olive oil to a food processor and process until semi smooth. Add in parmigiano, seasoned salt and remaining olive oil. Process
  • Slice the top off the tomatoes as shown in the video. With a spoon hollow them out. Sprinkle with a bit of salt on the inside and let sit upside down over a paper towel to remove excess moisture
  • In the anchovy olive oil sautee the shallot and anchovies until they all meld together, about 5-6 min on medium heat
  • Add in acini di pepe or pastina of choice and brown for 2-3 min. Add broth a bit at a time. Turn heat off when it is still a bit under al dente
  • Add in parmigiano, lemon zest and pesto. Add salt/pepper to taste
  • Arrange the tomatoes on a baking dish, add some fontina to them, divide the pastina and top with more fontina. Add the tomato tops to them
  • Bake at 425F for 15 min and broil for 2-3 minutes
  • Top with crushed peppers

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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