5-minute listening: Quick, easy recipe for fresh tomato pesto pasta, perfect for warm summer evenings

  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; and check the answers at the bottom of the page
  • This week’s podcast features a refreshing pasta that is perfect for beating the summer heat
Doris Wai |

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Tomatoes and basil make a perfect summer pairing! Photo: Shutterstock

Click on the video below for the audio (the script has been adapted from Tribune News Service).

Play a Kahoot! game about this podcast as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. What is K Sisters’ Kitchen?

A. a talk show
B. a drama
C. a documentary
D. a cooking show

2. Which word can replace “chilled” in the podcast?

A. relaxed
B. cold
C. numb
D. laid-back

3. Which two ingredients could be used to add heat to the pesto sauce?

A. slivered almond and toasted cashews
B. garlic and olive oil
C. chilli pepper olive oil and red pepper flakes
D. basil leaves and salt

4. Which of the following could be a way to use pesto sauce?

A. as a dip
B. as a spread
C. as a topping
D. all of the above

5. Which ingredient is not used in the pesto sauce?

A. rigatoni
B. basil leaves
C. cherry tomatoes
D. almonds

6. What can be added to the pesto sauce if it is too thick?

A. olive oil
B. water
C. Parmesan cheese
D. more tomatoes

7. How long should the rigatoni take to cook?

A. no more than 5 minutes
B. between 8 and 10 minutes
C. exactly 12 minutes
D. information not given

8. What is the purpose of draining the cooked rigatoni in a colander?

A. to allow the pasta to cool down
B. to ensure the pasta stays cooked
C. to remove excess water
D. to add flavour

9. If you “drizzle” something, you …

A. cause it to flow very quickly in large amounts
B. pour a thin stream of it lightly over something else
C. shake it to flow out through a narrow opening
D. toss it so it goes in all directions

10. What ingredients does the podcast suggest using to decorate the finished dish?

A. Parmesan cheese and tomatoes
B. salt and olive oil
C. chilli pepper and Parmesan cheese
D. tomatoes and chopped garlic

11. Using information from the podcast, complete the list of ingredients needed for the recipe.


  • __________ of toasted almonds
  • __________ of toasted cashews
  • one clove of garlic
  • one handful of ___________
  • 450g of cherry or ___________
  • a pinch of _________
  • ___________ of chilli pepper olive oil
  • ___________ of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ____________ of rigatoni
Pesto made with fresh tomatoes, lots of Parmesan and olive oil flavoured with chilli peppers makes for an easy pasta sauce. Photo: Gretchen McKay/TNS


  1. D
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. A
  6. A
  7. D
  8. C
  9. B
  10. A
  11. Ingredients:
  • a quarter cup / ¼ cup of toasted almonds
  • a quarter cup / ¼ cup of toasted cashews
  • one handful of basil leaves
  • 450g of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • a pinch of salt
  • a quarter cup / ¼ cup of chilli pepper olive oil
  • a quarter cup / ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 450g of rigatoni


Kang-yee and Kate: Hi everyone! Welcome back to another episode of K Sisters’ Kitchen.

Kang-yee: We hope you enjoyed last week’s recipe for Margherita pizza!

Kate: Kang-yee, what are we making this week?

Kang-yee: Well, summer is here, and this season calls for dishes that require minimal preparation and can be served either chilled or at room temperature. This week, we’ll be making a fresh tomato pesto pasta. Made with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil, the sauce requires only a quick whirl in a food processor or blender.

Kate: Mmm … that sounds amazing! For today’s recipe, you’ll need a quarter cup of toasted almonds; a quarter cup of toasted cashews; one clove of garlic, peeled and smashed; one large handful of basil leaves; 450 grams of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into halves; a pinch of salt; a quarter cup of chilli pepper olive oil; a quarter cup of extra-virgin olive oil; a half cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese; and 450 grams of rigatoni pasta.

Kang-yee: We are using a mix of toasted slivered almonds and toasted cashews for the pesto sauce, but you could easily choose one or the other. This is seasoned with a chilli pepper olive oil that adds the tiniest bit of a spicy kick – though you could also double up on the amount of regular olive oil and simply add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes instead.

Kate: We’re serving the pesto sauce over rigatoni, but if you’re not in the mood for that, the pesto is also pretty tasty as a spread for bruschetta, as a dip for shrimp cocktail or as a topping on roast vegetables and meat. Shall we get started, Kang-yee?

Kang-yee: Yes, please! Start by placing almonds and garlic in the bowl of a food processor or blender, and pulse together until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

Kate: Once that’s done, add the basil and tomatoes, and pulse again to combine. Add Parmesan cheese along with a pinch or two of salt, and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides again with a spatula. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Kang-yee: Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and add salt to taste. Add rigatoni to the salty water, and set your timer to the cooking time indicated in the packaging. You can set your heat to medium-low at this point. Drain the cooked rigatoni in a colander, and try to get the pasta as dry as you can. Now, you are almost good to go!

Kate: Indeed! And for the last step: place the cooked rigatoni in a large serving bowl, then add pesto, and toss well to combine. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, if desired. Serve garnished with more tomatoes and additional Parmesan on the side. You can also add a green salad and bread if you’re feeling particularly hungry.

Kang-yee: I definitely am starving right now – I can’t wait to tuck in!

Kate: And that’s it for today! Remember to like this podca st if you’ve enjoyed this recipe, and leave us a comment. Instructions are in the description below.

Kang-yee: Thanks for checking out our podcast, and we’ll see you next week!

Kate and Kang-yee: Bye, everyone!

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