In a food processor, place the basil, walnuts, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper flakes. Process, stopping the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides, until finely pureed. Scrape into a serving bowl.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Stir 2-3 tbsp of the pasta water into pesto to warm it and make it creamier. Add the pasta and toss, adding more pasta water if dry. Sprinkle with tomato, if using and the cheese
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