Pasta With Spicy Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Add Robust Flavor to a Favorite Pasta
- Servings: 6 to 8 as a starter or 4 as a main course.
Roasting fresh cherry tomatoes brings out and intensifies their flavor without turning them into a full-fledged sauce. The versatility of cherry tomatoes, plus their generally reliable good flavor, makes them a good choice, year-round, and the anchovies, garlic and red pepper flakes add even more personality. The finished sauce is wonderful with a final dusting of coarsely grated ricotta salata, a white, slightly tangy cheese. An alternative would be a robust Pecorino Romano. Either toss the finished pasta with the grated cheese or serve it separately for folks to help themselves.
This sauce can be made several hours in advance and then just tossed with the cooked pasta which will again warm the cooked tomatoes. This robust tomato/pasta combination is a perfect companion to a delicate white fish like sea bass or tilapia or with any type of roasted meat or poultry.
- 2 pounds fresh, ripe but firm cherry tomatoes. Cut in half or thirds, depending on size.
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want added heat but remember that the sauce will concentrate so you may want to start easy and add more later)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
- 4 anchovies, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound large cut dried pasta such as rigatoni or rotini
- 1/4 cup freshly grated ricotta salata cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- In an oven-proof roasting pan or baking dish -- one large enough to take nearly all the tomatoes in a single layer -- toss together the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, minced anchovies, olive oil, plus a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Combine well and arrange the tomatoes in a single crowded layer so that they will cook evenly.
- Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked through and starting to brown. They should have a wonderful fragrance and will have shrunk and produced some juices.
- Remove from the oven and hold aside until you're ready to make the pasta.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Be careful to not overcook.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain it completely and place in your serving bowl.
- Pour the cooked cherry tomatoes and all their juices over the cooked pasta and with a large spoon, combine so that the pasta is fully coated with the oily juices and the tomatoes are interspersed. If needed, add a teaspoon or so more olive oil to help combine.
- Either sprinkle with the grated ricotta salata or pass the cheese in a separate bowl at the table.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Tip: The chunky nature of this sauce works better with a large cut pasta like rigatoni rather than a strand pasta like spaghetti.