My tomatoes are still blazing along, but are still not ripe yet. Tired of waiting, I headed out to my local farm stand and picked up these lovelies:
Two pints of sunshine and sugar, just begging to be made into my favorite summer pasta dish!
Let’s get to it. Here’s what you need:
2 pints mixed cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 medium shallot (or red onion), about a 1/2-inch dice
4 large cloves garlic, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 325 F, before you prep the veggies. Slice and dice as directed, putting everything into a large bowl as you go. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then stir well to coat. (Minus the garlic, this makes a nice cold salad if you stop right here.)
Turn out the ingredients onto a half sheet pan or baking dish with sides; you want everything to be in a nice even, single layer. Use a rubber spatula to get the last of the oil and juices out of the bowl.
Pop the pan in the oven, and set your timer for 1 hour. In the summer, I find that this is the earliest it’s ready – the tomatoes are juicy and it takes a bit to reduce the liquid. In the winter, if you break down and buy tomatoes at the grocery, it will be done much faster – start checking it at 30 minutes.
About 10 minutes before your time is up, get your pasta cooking according to the package directions. (The time depends on the pasta you’re using – I like rotini.)
What you’re looking for is some nice caramelization in the pan; the onions and garlic will get really sweet, and the balsamic vinegar will cook down into a very sticky syrup. I like to let mine sit on the counter for a few minutes when I pull it out of the oven so that more of the tomato juices work their way out and help deglaze the pan. (This resting period also lets me finish up the pasta.)
When you’re ready to serve, scrape everything together in the pan, making sure to get all of the sticky bits as well. The tomatoes will fall apart, but don’t worry. After you’ve drained your pasta, go ahead and combine that with the tomatoes, in a large bowl. Grate on some Parmesan (or any hard Italian cheese – Romano or Asiago also work) and enjoy!
This also makes a nice crostini topping, served warm or cold. As with most of my “recipes,” it’s more of a jumping off point, than a strict set of rules. Experiment with adding other veggies to the roasting pan to see what you like – asparagus, red and yellow peppers, mushrooms … you name it! I also like some sautéed chicken, cubed up and mixed in, for an added protein boost.
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