Pasta with baked cherry tomatoes
This is a recipe I got from Lidia Bastianich. It has become a family favorite.
- 3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
- ⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the pasta pot
- ¼ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti or penne
- 10 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pecorino, freshly grated
- Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.
- Toss the cherry-tomato halves in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle over tomatoes the bread crumbs, salt, and crushed pepper; toss well to coat the tomatoes.
- Pour the tomatoes onto the parchment-lined sheet, and spread them apart in a single layer.
- Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and lightly caramelized (but not dried out), about 30-35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill the large pot with salted water, and heat to a rolling boil. When the tomatoes are nearly done, drop the pasta into the pot, stir, and return the water to a boil.
As soon as the pasta is cooking:
- Pour the remaining olive oil into the big skillet, set it over medium-high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic.
- Cook for a minute or two, until it is sizzling and lightly colored, then ladle in about 2-3 cups of the pasta cooking water, and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring up the garlic.
- Let half the water evaporate, then lower the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and keep the sauce barely simmering.
- As soon as the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven
- When the pasta is al dente, lift it from the water, drain for a moment and drop it into the skillet, still over low heat.
- Toss pasta quickly with the garlic and- parsley sauce in the pan, then slide the baked tomatoes on top of the pasta.
- Scatter the basil shreds all over, and toss everything together well, until the pasta is evenly dressed and the tomatoes are distributed throughout.
- Turn off the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, and toss once more.
- Mound the pasta in a warmed serving bowl. Sprinkle the pasta with cheese, and serve.
***Make it even Quicker: Skip part 2 & 3 and pour the tomatoes straight from the oven over drained pasta sprinkle fresh basil and cheese on top – still just as yummy!