Bucatini with Roasted & Fresh Tomatoes

This is a wonderful seasonal dish to make with summer tomatoes. It was especially fabulous with my new favorite pasta, bucatini, too. We ate it warm but it could also be enjoyed at room temperature. The crunchy, cheesy croutons really added something special.

I used store-bought ricotta as a shortcut, but included a link to freshly made ricotta below. This recipe was (very slightly) adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Quick and delicious!

Yield: Serves 4
  • 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes (3 cups)
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices rustic bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces (1 1/2 cups) (I used Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 ounce), plus more for serving
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup packed shredded fresh basil, plus sprigs for serving
  • 3 tablespoons shredded fresh mint, plus sprigs for serving (I omitted the mint)
  • 12 ounces bucatini, spaghetti, or linguine
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, toss cherry tomatoes with 3 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until bursting and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss bread with 2 tablespoons oil and Pecorino Romano; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.
  4. Toss diced tomatoes, basil, and mint (if using) with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup liquid; drain.
  6. Return pasta to pot; toss with roasted tomatoes, their oil, and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. (Tomatoes should coat pasta but not create much of a sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide among plates, then give each a dollop of ricotta, a spoonful of fresh-tomato mixture, and a sprinkle of croutons.
  8. Serve, garnished with a sprig or two of herbs, a generous drizzle of oil, and some cheese and pepper.

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Strozzapreti with Roasted Tomatoes

My husband is SPOILED. He said that this dish was “standard” fare. “We always eat fresh tomatoes and basil, ” he said. What could be better than two (plus) pounds of local farm stand tomatoes smothered in backyard basil, garlic, and loads of cheese? (That’s what I say!) Yummy!

Well… It would have been better is I had made fresh pasta, I suppose. I substituted store-bought (but special) pasta. I did include the directions to make the homemade strozzapreti because it would bring this tasty dish to a new level. It was absolutely delicious with dry pasta too! This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by┬áChris Warde-Jones. I tripled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used dry (store-bought) pasta.

BTW- I am so proud of my backyard basil! I told my kids (who ALWAYS want to set up a lemonade stand) that they should have a basil stand! ­čÖé

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Yield: 6 servings

For the Sauce:

  • 2 1/2 pounds┬ácherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5┬átablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste
  • 15 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups finely grated pecorino cheese
  • 3/4┬ácup, firmly packed, fresh basil or parsley leaves
  • 14 to 16 oz strozzapreti (or fresh pasta- recipe below)


For the Fresh Pasta:

  • 1 cup grano duro flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil and 12 minced garlic cloves. Toss well, then spread tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut sides up.
  3. Roast until soft and collapsing, about 45 minutes; do not allow to dry or brown.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor combine remaining minced garlic, cheese, and basil (or parsley). Process until very finely chopped.
  5. When tomatoes are soft, immediately spread cheese-herb mixture on top and lightly mash with a spoon so cheese melts. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons oil (or more to taste), and set aside.

For the Fresh Strozzapreti: (I substituted store-bought pasta.)

  1. On a wooden counter or large cutting board, mound 1 cup flour and make a well in center. Break eggs into well.
  2. Using your hands, mix eggs in well, gradually pulling in more and more flour to make a pasty dough. Knead dough briefly, using lightly floured hands if dough is very wet; it should be moist but not sticky.
  3. Scrape wooden board clean. Using a wooden rolling pin (and a very light dusting of flour if necessary), roll dough out as thinly as possible into an approximate rectangle.
  4. Using a knife, score rectangle into strips an inch wide and about three inches long. Pick up one piece of dough and press it around a bamboo meat skewer about the diameter of an umbrella spoke. This is most successful if done quickly and not too carefully, so that dough fits tightly round skewer with an overlapping, visible seam. Slide skewer out of pasta and set pasta aside on a plate. Repeat to use remaining dough. Pieces should be irregular in size and shape.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. If desired, return baking sheet of tomatoes to a 300-degree oven just to reheat.
  2. Add strozzapreti to pot and cook until tender, slightly chewy and no longer raw in center. This is best done by tasting after strozzapreti float to surface; be careful not to under- or overcook. Alternatively, if using store-bought pasta, cook according to package directions.
  3. Drain cooked pasta and pour into a large bowl; immediately add tomatoes. Toss quickly and serve hot.

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Pasta Alla Norma with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

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My son is learning about eating a balanced diet in Cub Scouts. He had to plan a balanced menu and then compare it to his actual diet. When he was sharing the “healthy food items” from his actual menu with his den, he included slow-roasted tomatoes. His den leader- who happens to be a chef- had such a huge reaction: “Wow! Who made slow-roasted tomatoes? They are so good for you!”. I was so proud. ­čÖé

I had made this Sicilian dish in the past and enjoyed it, so I knew that this time-consuming version would be worth it. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I nearly doubled the tomatoes, eggplant, and the ricotta salata- I prefer to have TONS of veggies on my pasta. ­čÖé Fabulous!!

Time: 3-4 hours, mostly unattended

Yield: 4 servings

  • 50 grape or┬ácherry tomatoes, depending on size, cut in half
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 1 3/4 pounds small to medium eggplants, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2/3 to 1 pound fresh pasta (I used fresh pappardelle)
  • 4 to 6┬áounces ricotta salata, grated, diced small, or broken into small chunks
  • 20 basil leaves, torn
  1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the tomatoes in one layer in an ovenproof pan and drizzle them liberally with oil, then salt and sprinkle with thyme sprigs, if using. Roast for about an hour, then stir and roast for another half-hour or so.
  2. After the 1 1/2 hours, when tomatoes are shriveled, add garlic, turn down heat to 225 degrees and roast for at least another hour. They should not cook completely dry; if they threaten to overcook, turn the heat down or pull them out. Fish out the garlic if you like. (I left it in!)
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, sizzle the eggplant in about 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. (cover with a splatter screen!) The oil should bubble steadily. Turn eggplant as needed until nicely browned, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, cut roughly into strips.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  5. Add the eggplant to the tomatoes and stir. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water.
  6. Cook the pasta and warm a serving bowl. At the bottom of the bowl put half the sauce and half the ricotta salata. Add the pasta and the remaining sauce, cheese and basil and toss.

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