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Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta

Loads of tomatoes and a few other ingredients make a delicious and speedy dinner!

When you (if you’re me!) buy a pound or two too many organic heirloom cherry tomatoes for the crudité platter at your next shindig, this is a LOVELY way to use them up!

Ingredients
½ c extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
5 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 pints cherry tomatoes
½ tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste if you like it spicy!
6 stems fresh thyme sprigs, whole
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste if needed)
1 lb linguine (or whatever pasta shape makes your heart sing)
pasta water as needed for sauce
½ c grated parmesan, plus more for serving

For sauce
Heat ½ cup oil in a large heavy pot over low (I used a 14″ skillet so there would be plenty of room to add the pasta to the sauce at the end). Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, thyme sprigs, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring to coat, until tomatoes begin to burst. As the tomatoes continue to break down, mash most of them with the back of a wooden spoon to release their juices and begin creating a sauce. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes chunky and thickened and most of the tomatoes are completely broken down and just a few remain in tact (these will look really pretty on top of the pasta when serving!). This process took about 20-25 minutes for me. Pluck out and discard thyme sprigs.

For pasta
Put water on to boil pasta and season heavily so it tastes of the sea. When sauce is close to being done, boil pasta until it is just under al dente, as it will finish cooking in the sauce.

To finish
When the pasta is a couple of minutes from ‘done,’ scoop out a ladle or two of the pasta water and swirl it into the sauce, along with the chopped fresh thyme, chopped parsley and parmesan. Grab the pasta with tongs and transfer into the sauce pan and toss all together, adding more pasta water as needed (I used another couple of ladles full). You’ll want the sauce to coat the pasta nicely and to have a loose (but not watery!) consistency.

To serve
Grab a tongful of pasta and twirl it prettily on a plate or in a wide, low bowl (the nice folks at The Kitchn have a primer here if you’re in the mood for reading that sort of thing). Add a few of the whole tomatoes to the top, drizzle with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle with more parmesan, put a little sprig of parsley on the top for good measure…and dig in!!

Based loosely on this delightful recipe from the fine folks at Bon Appétit!

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