Today’s theme for the Food Network series and one of our last for #SensationalSides before we head into summer fare was to come up with a quick side dish. Maybe the quickest would have been to take the basket of cherry tomatoes I had on the counter and chop them and season them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper but I was thinking a bit more might be expected for FN Dish! So I took them a couple of steps further and made this quick and easy Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes that was quite simply devoured. As always take a peek after the recipe for more quick side dishes.
One of my favorite uses for tomatoes, especially when they are in abundance, is to make a tomato pie. I might have done that for today except I didn’t have any pre-made pie dough in the freezer and making a pie shell would have led this dish a bit too far away from quick and easy so I sort of punted.
I used a lot of the same ingredients for my pie but in lieu of a pie shell, I mixed the tomatoes with pasta and Parmesan cheese and it was perfect. Fresh, light and yet warm from the oven and a bit cheesy; it really was a simple and delicious dish that took barely any effort to bring to the table.
I don’t know about you but I hardly purchase tomatoes when they are not in season. Winter tomatoes are simply hard and flavorless so I suffer without and will use a good canned product before fresh. So I get excited as spring rolls around and tomato planting season gets underway.
I still shy away from most tomatoes at the market but have found that smaller varieties can be satisfying this time of year before the larger ones start to become available. And by available I mean in my garden or at the farmers market. Sadly…the grocery store NEVER has good tomatoes.
This was a particularly beautiful assortment with red, yellow and green cherry tomatoes with a type of baby heirloom thrown into the mix as well. A couple held up better than the others; some melted into sauce and some gave me the occasional toothy bite and that was perfect. A dish that takes but 5 minutes to get into the oven combined with pasta that takes 10 minutes to cook and I call this easy enough for any meal!
Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- 4 cups cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- 1 pound Ziti (or use macaroni if on hand)
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
- Combine the tomatoes, garlic, capers, olive oil, salt and pepper in the baking dish and toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta; add the cheese and toss well. Use the pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with the chopped parsley as garnish
As fate would have it; I had almost finished with the recipe for this dish when I spied Giada DeLaurentis making something very similar on the Food Network; she called it Pasta Ponzu. She is the reason for the Ziti (vs plain macaroni) and the addition of capers (though I used much less) but mine uses Panko bread crumbs and has garlic; I mean pasta without garlic? No way!
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