With my garden laden with cherry tomatoes this year, I've tried to come up with different solutions for using them in recipes besides eating them raw as fast as they ripen. Last year I made cherry tomato salad, but even then the plants were so abundant that I fed my coworkers with tomatoes for weeks upon weeks. This year, my cherry tomatoes are the only ones that haven't been affected by the blight, which has caused havoc on farms in the Northeast. Some farmers have now resorted to burning their crops. Luckily the disease hasn't been so drastic in the small scale. This year I'm keeping all the tomatoes to myself.
For me each raw cherry tomato is a burst of powerful summer flavor, but with a bit of cooking, they are even better. One of the best ways to get the maximum flavor from vegetables is by roasting them. Roasting cherry tomatoes concentrates their flavor so that they taste almost like sun-dried tomatoes. In this recipe, I roast them with the addition of garlic, oil, red pepper flakes, and vinegar. The balsamic vinegar brings out a layer of savory sweetness while the other ingredients create a simple and very tasty sauce. There are no long hours of cooking sauce on the stove top required. Once the pasta and roasted tomatoes are combined, the addition of fresh herbs releases perfumed aromas and pungent flavors. It's truly a very satisfying and quick-to-make pasta dish.
Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
1 pound linguine
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, combine tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until tender, juicy, and skins have popped, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Cook linguine according to package directions in a large pot of liberally salted water until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add tomato mixture, oregano, parsley, and basil. Toss together and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.
Also published on gastronomersguide.com
by Scott R. Kline