Monday, March 28, 2016

Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Garlic

Today I thought I would share one of my family's most requested recipes. This one is a real winner...easy and delicious! I've been making this Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Garlic for many years. It is a relatively quick meal since it only takes 30 minutes to cook. I make this any time I see grape tomatoes on sale at the grocery store, which happens pretty regularly, so it is pretty cost effective as well. So enough introduction, let's get cooking! 

Start with two containers of grape tomatoes. The ones I usually see at the store are 10 ounces each. If you get a larger container or are using fresh ones from your garden, somewhere between 2-3 cups of tomatoes will work.

Rinse the tomatoes off to clean them and then lay them out to dry. I put paper towels down on a baking sheet and move it from side to side to roll the tomatoes around and dry them off. As with any roasted vegetables, the tomatoes should be mostly dry when they go into the oven so they will roast and not steam. 

Next you will need garlic...a lot of garlic. We are garlic lovers in my house, so there's really no such thing as too much in my opinion. The garlic gets roasted in the oven which mellows out its flavor, so if you're concerned about the large amount of garlic, don't be! It's delicious! I use anywhere from 6 to 12 cloves of garlic depending on their size. My garlic cloves were pretty big this time, so I used 8.  

Cut any very large ones in half, but you don't want them to be too small or they will burn while roasting.

Next take your clean and dry grape tomatoes and cut them in half. 

Add all of the garlic and halved tomatoes to a baking sheet. 

Then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, dried basil and/or Italian seasoning (I use both!), and red pepper flakes. I have included approximate measurements with the recipe at the bottom of this page, but I have made this so many times that I never measure anything. I simply drizzle on the oil and sprinkle on the seasonings. This recipe is very simple and difficult to mess up.

Next toss everything around on the baking sheet to mix it all up. 

Finally, put the tomato and garlic mixture in the oven and roast them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, shaking the pan around half way through the cooking time. After I put the tomatoes in the oven, I fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove. When there are about 20 minutes left on the tomatoes, I start heating the water for the pasta. My stove is nothing fancy, so it takes some time to boil water. If yours comes to a boil more quickly, you may want to wait until there are 15 minutes left. Any short-cut pasta will work with this dish. My favorite is orecchiette, but I didn't have any this time, so I used these mini penne I got at Trader Joe's. You will need the whole 16 ounce package. 

Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. I like to save a little of the pasta cooking water when the pasta is ready to be drained. I'll tell you what to do with that later, so just set it aside for now. Drain the pasta. I put about a 1/2 Tablespoon of butter in the pot I cooked the pasta in and then add back in the drained pasta and toss it around. This is optional, but butter makes everything better! Set this aside so you can get your tomatoes out of the oven. They should be nice and roasted at this point. 

Now this is a little extra step that is totally optional, but I find it gives the over all dish more flavor. I like to take the garlic out of the pan and smash it up with a fork in a little bowl. You can skip the next few steps if you'd like and just toss the entire tomato and garlic mixture with the pasta. 

Then I add a splash of the reserved pasta water...not much, maybe two tablespoons or so. 

Then just stir this up and you will have a sort of roasted garlic "sauce." 

Add the roasted garlic/pasta water mixture to the cooked pasta and stir it around to mix it all up. 

Then add in the roasted tomatoes. 

Then give that a stir to mix it all up. 

Now it's time to add in a good amount of Parmesan cheese and some parsley. Fresh parsley is best of course. I was out of it today, so I used dried parsley. 

And once again, give it a stir! 

And a little more cheese right on top is never a bad idea! 

Now just dish it up and serve...with more cheese on top if you'd like! 

This meal is simple and delicious...give it a try today! My children enjoy it 3-year-old ate 3 helpings and was still asking for more! 

Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Garlic 
Adapted from

2 (10 ounce) packages grape tomatoes, halved 
6-12 cloves of garlic (halve larger cloves) 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon of each) 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1 pound short-cut pasta (such as orecchiette, penne, farfalle, etc.) 
1/2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tbsp pasta cooking water (optional, but recommended)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tablespoon dried parsley 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Toss together tomatoes, garlic, oil, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes on a large baking sheet. 
3. Roast tomato mixture for 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are browned at edges and shriveled and garlic is tender. Shake the pan about half way through the cooking time. 
4. Cook pasta in salted water to al dente. 
5. Drain pasta saving 2 Tablespoons of the cooking water. Add butter and then pasta to the hot pot. 
6. If desired, mash roasted garlic and mix with cooking water. Then add to the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Otherwise just skip to the next step. 
7. Add roasted tomatoes to pasta and stir again to combine. 
8. Add in grated Parmesan and chopped or dried parsley. Stir to combine and serve with extra Parmesan on top. 

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