Grilled or Roasted Tomato Pasta Dressing (so light! so bright!)

12 Feb

The temperatures here in New York have started to drop some, but so far 2012 is The Winter That Hasn’t Been (I like the present perfect tense here rather than the past tense “wasn’t”, because there is still time for some apocalyptic winter weather to strike).

That means that many of us have been firing up the grill as if it were summer. If you are one of those people, here is a fresh, uplifting recipe that will brighten up the day and feel easy on the digestion.

I made it the other day from tomatoes grilled the night before at our friends’ house during an impromptu and convivial burger night (more on the amazing sauteed onion and mushroom topping soon!).

A glimpse of the salad the same night - with grilled asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes! Heaven.

The tomatoes (Campari’s which I bought out of season because I couldn’t resist the clearance price) had none of the rich acidity and fullness of a summer tomato, but grilling and roasting add some depth of flavor and the garlic and vinegar give a very pleasant tang. So, should you succumb to a good price or simply the need for a tomato that didn’t come out of a tin during the winter months, this recipe will enhance a lackluster product. To my surprise, Leandro really dug this pasta and ate the extra serving I had intended for my own lunch the following day.  I should have been totally pleased and delighted and flattered, but this imperfect Mommy was kind of annoyed. And frightened. If he eats like this at four, how much is he going to eat as a teenager?

Grilled or Roasted Tomato Pasta Dressing

(Special tools: about six BBQ skewers. If using wood, soak the skewers in water for about 20 minutes)

1 lb medium length pasta such as penne or rotini

1 pint small tomatoes: grape, cherry or Campari, preferred

2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tsp red wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

(optional: 1 tsp chopped fresh basil or parsley)

Salt, to taste

Heat grill and skewer tomatoes, leaving ample space between tomatoes. Grill tomatoes for about five minutes, or until beginning to wrinkle and just beginning to brown (or preheat oven to 350° and scatter tomatoes on a baking sheet or foil and cooking for 15 minutes or until beginning to wrinkle and brown)*. Smaller tomatoes will cook faster. Do not char. Chop tomatoes roughly. Do not discard liquid or seeds.

In the meantime, prepare pasta according to package directions. Keep the pasta warm after draining.

While the pasta is boiling and the tomatoes are grilling, whisk olive oil and vinegar together until blended in a large bowl. Add garlic, tomatoes with juices, and still-warm pasta. Add optional herbs, salt to taste and serve with your favorite grated cheese.

*You can grill or roast the tomatoes while firing up the grill or oven for something else, place cooked tomatoes in a tightly sealed container in the fridge, and make the recipe the following day.


4 Responses to “Grilled or Roasted Tomato Pasta Dressing (so light! so bright!)”

  1. Malou February 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Wow, this is a new aspect of making pasta sauce! Definitely something for me to try. I’ve been cooking spaghetti with sauce from sun-dried tomatoes and love that too.

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 13, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I love making dishes like this, especially on weeknights.


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