May 21, 2013
Hillary

Linguine with Garlic Chili Oil and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomato pasta

 

 

This past week Jor and I took a break from the craziness of work, school and the everyday routine and ventured off to Italy and it was everything we had hoped for and more! Immersing ourselves into a new culture and soaking in the unbelievable history of another country was both thrilling and invigorating! We left already talking about the next trip. We both are so easily consumed by our work, which we luckily both love, but sometimes you need to be reminded that there is life outside your bubble and that it’s ok to press pause on that to experience something completely outside of your element. I plan on sharing more about Italy and especially the food we ate in an upcoming post but for now I wanted to share a pasta meal we made that just resonates with the tomato based pasta we so loved while in Italy! Throw out the jars of tomato sauce (that are honestly on sugar overload) because it’s all about using simple, fresh tomatoes in this pasta dish.

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients: 

(Makes enough for two dinner portions but can easily be scaled up or down.)

  • 6 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 1 pound (1 small carton) of cherry heirloom tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-1.5 tablespoon olive oil (plus a drizzle for the tomatoes)
  • 1 large garlic clove (more if desired), minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil (helps with clean up). Wash the cherry tomatoes, halve them and spread them out on the covered baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes along with a dash of salt and pepper. Mix everything around on the sheet so that each tomato is covered with some of the olive oil. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes. If your tomatoes are on the smaller side, be sure to start checking them around 15 minutes as the bake time is completely dependent on the size of the tomatoes and you don’t want to end up with completely shriveled up or burned tomatoes!

While the tomatoes cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on medium high heat. Throw in the linguine and let that cook for about 8-10 minutes.

At this point, your tomatoes should be just about done and the linguine is also well on its way. Go ahead and heat the olive oil in a smaller pan on medium high heat. Once it is hot, add in the minced garlic clove(s) and the red pepper chili flakes. You want to watch this closely so that the garlic doesn’t burn but when you start hearing a little crackling noise from your pan you will know that good things are happening! It will start to become wonderfully aromatic in your kitchen in a matter of minutes!

Red Pepper Chili Oil 2

 

As your garlic, chili pepper oil is finishing up, your tomatoes and pasta should be about done. The tomatoes will have shrunk just the smallest bit and they should have released some juices (all good things!). Be careful not to let the tomatoes stay in the oven too long because the juice they release will easily and quickly burn on you.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

 

Only cook your pasta until al dente and then add the cooked tomatoes (juices an all) to the pot of pasta along with the garlic, chili pepper oil. Give everything a good but gentle toss so as not to break apart the tomatoes too much. Add in your fresh basil to liven it up just a tad bit more.

Pasta, Oil and Tomatoes

 

Toast up some fresh baked bread and serve the pasta with a little more fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese and you have a wonderful pasta dish for two (or more!).

Pasta Complete

 

What I love most about this meal is that while it is incredibly quick and easy to throw together, roasting the cherry tomatoes brings out such a wonderful, fresh flavor you don’t feel like you are eating any plan pasta meal. That combined with the garlic, chili pepper oil is just fantastic! Plus the flavor beats any tomato sauce that comes out of can by a mile for sure! Each tomato based pasta dish we had in Italy consisted of a tomato sauce that had far less sugar than what is often served in America and it was obvious that the base was simply fresh whole tomatoes as opposed to something straight from a can. And right now with the farmers markets being filled with tomatoes of all varieties, this dish is a perfect way to work your way through the different tomatoes in season! I used heirloom in this dish but you can use whatever looks best to you. Perhaps it was just being in Italy that made us think we were eating the freshest tomatoes around but for now we’ll just have to enjoy what we can back home until we return again!! For now, that’s linguine pasta with garlic chili pepper oil and roasted cherry tomatoes…in the shell of a nut!

 

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