Cherry Tomato Sauce with Vegetables and Rigatoni

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      Cherry Tomato Sauce with Vegetables and Rigatoni serves 4-6

      Marliss Desens created this recipe as a mash-up of Kenji Alt-Lopez's "Fast and Easy Pasta with Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce" and Deb Perelman's "Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta." Kenji cooks the tomatoes on the stove-top, as opposed to Deb who roasts them in the oven. He used whole cherry tomatoes, but I found them easier to cook when halved, and I mince the garlic rather than slicing it. Deb gave me the idea for using balsamic vinegar. It sets off the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes perfectly. While neither added vegetables, I like a high proportion of vegetables to pasta. Meat or beans could be added. Basil, oregano, and parsley can be added, if desired.

      8 oz. rigatoni or pasta of choice

      About 3 cups to 1 quart of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
      3-4 cloves garlic, minced
      Olive oil

      Note: Use whatever vegetables you have. Here is a great combination:
      Large green onion, sliced, or chopped onion
      Red bell pepper
      8 oz. sliced mushrooms
      1 yellow squash, cut into half-moons or quarters (depends on size)
      1 zucchini, cut into half-moons or quarters (depends on size)
      Olive oil
      Dash of balsamic vinegar
      Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

      In a 3-4-quart pot, bring water to boil. You will want to add the pasta and about a tsp. of coarse salt about 10 minutes before the sauce and vegetables will be finished. Be sure to boil the pasta for one minute less than the time given on the package, as it will continue to cook when added to the sauce.

      In a 4-quart sauté pan with deep sides, add a generous amount of olive oil in the center. Add minced garlic. Turn on medium heat. When garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), add the cherry tomatoes. Cook, stirring with a high-heat spatula as needed. It will take about 10 minutes for the tomatoes to get juicy and the juice to start to thicken. Add a little of the heating pasta water if needed to prevent sticking.

      While the tomatoes cook, in a separate skillet, sauté onion and bell pepper. Add sliced mushrooms, and more olive oil if needed. Add the chopped squash, and more olive oil if needed, and sauté until lightly cooked. Once tomatoes have collapsed into a jammy sauce, add the vegetables and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

      When the pasta has cooked, reserve about 1 cup of water when draining. Add pasta to the sauce and stir. Add just enough pasta water to make a smooth sauce. Grate some Parmesan cheese over the top and stir. Grate additional Parmesan over individual servings.

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        Will have to make this!

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