Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes & Basil

Intro Collage

For me this is hardly a recipe, but rather a recollection of something I “threw” together one very hot evening a few years ago and, go figure, it has become one of our favorite dinners.  Pasta with basil and tomatoes is a well~documented culinary marriage but this particular memory is all mine.  It all started back in Sonoma County in the middle of a grape vineyard where we lived and where I cultivated a garden packed with watermelons, lemon cucumbers, eight different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, basil, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, etc., etc.  With the help of a dear friend that season I learned how to install a pretty amazing water drip system in my little patch of heaven and that is when this city girl crossed over to the greener side.  Although I adore my current life, living on the SF Bay, minutes from San Francisco and all that a big city offers, I cherish that time in rural Sonoma County and, especially, that dear friend and gardening mentor.  Because of that time, no matter where I live, I will always grow something that I can harvest and bring to the dinner table…an utterly primal act which yields a supremely satisfying feeling.

This dinner is at its most spectacular when tomatoes are hanging heavy on the vine, ripened by the intense summer sun and the basil patch grows faster and thicker by the hour in the afternoon heat.  A crisp, cold glass of sauvignon blanc and a small garden basket accompanied me on my walk out to the garden that evening, hair still wet from a late afternoon swim.  The heavy fruit, warm and tender, practically fell into my hand as soon as I touched the thick stems and the pungent scent of basil remained on my hands and wrists like a perfume after picking bushy stems for our dinner. Boiling water and a bit of chopping…little effort for a simple summer dinner that produces such splendid flavor.

It is March now and my “city” garden is bare {with the exception of a few herb pots flourishing in my sun room} but every year around this time, with Spring just around the corner, I find myself growing tired of the winter vegetables and hearty greens, yearning for tender lettuces, thick bunches of herbs, and sweet fruit.  This dinner is a preview of good things coming in the months ahead.  Hot house tomatoes, in this case a sweet cherry variety…


Are sliced in half and then roasted with just a bit of olive oil, sea salt and pepper to caramelize their natural sugars and intensify their flavor…




The leaves from a few large large bunches of store-bought basil are sliced into ribbons…


And some fresh cloves of garlic are peeled and minced…


While organic, dried pasta cooks in a pot of boiling water…


Minutes later, the pasta is drained and tossed with the basil, roasted tomatoes, garlic, along with a big glut of olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese…


Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes & Basil
Serves 6
A simple summer pasta can be enjoyed during the winter months when hot house tomatoes are roasted to intensify their flavor
  1. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  2. olive oil
  3. coarse sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  4. 2-3 bunches fresh basil, leaves torn from the stems and cut into ribbons
  5. 4-5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  6. 1 pound dried pasta
  7. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spread the tomatoes, cut side up, onto a rimmed baking sheet and lightly drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Season the tomatoes with some salt and pepper and then roast in the oven until the tomatoes deepen in color with some darkening around the edges, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. When cooked, drain the pasta.
  3. Return the pasta to the warm pot and add a glut of olive oil. Toss to coat the pasta and then add the roasted tomatoes, basil ribbons and garlic and some of the parmesan cheese. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

K Medium

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