Pop sweet cherry tomatoes under the broiler to make a quick, fresh pasta sauce in any season.
Of the hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, it’s the fruity little cherry tomato that always has your back. They’re one of the easiest things to grow in a pot or planter on your porch, producing all summer into the fall. Even out of season in the middle of winter, you can pretty much find them in any supermarket.
True, they’ll never take the place of a juicy peak-of-summer heirloom tomato, but they do pack a lot of flavor in a small package and they come in a variety of jewel-box colors.
This cherry tomato pasta sauce makes a magically quick dinner. I usually go the slow-roasting route with cherry tomatoes to concentrate and coax out as much of their sweetness as possible.
But one night I realized I’d forgotten to turn on the oven in time for dinner. So I dumped them into my cast-iron skillet and turned on the broiler. It takes less than fifteen minutes to char the tomatoes until they burst while the pasta water boils.
Add a few seasonings to the juicy hot tomatoes — punchy red chili, sliced garlic and fresh herbs — and toss with the cooked pasta and dollops of creamy ricotta cheese. It’s so good!
I love to serve whole wheat pasta spaghetti or linguine with rustic pasta sauces like this because I enjoy the wholesome, nutty flavor and also the earthy color it brings to the plate.
Did I mention the other beauty of this recipe? It’s an all-season winner: Make it at the height of summer with your super-sweet garden-grown or farmer’s market tomatoes or during the rest of the year, when we’re just waiting for the moment to arise.
If you love quick pantry pasta meals, check out these other recipes:
burst cherry tomato pasta with ricotta cheese
Yield 4 servings
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes, preferably mixed colors
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces spaghetti, bucatini, or linguine
- 1 fat garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled red chili
- Black pepper from a peppergrinder
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme and/or basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the broiler to high, with a rack positioned 6-inches from the heat source.
- Bring a large pot (6 quarts) of water to a boil and season with 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Put the tomatoes, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large (10 or 12-inch) ovenproof skillet. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the tomatoes brown and begin to burst, shaking the pan once or twice so they cook evenly, 5 - 10 minutes depending on the power of your broiler
- Remove the pan from the broiler and stir in the garlic, chili and about 10 twists of black pepper. Gently smoosh the tomatoes with the back of a spoon so that they release their juices.
- Drain the pasta and toss with sauce. Spoon 2 generous tablespoons of ricotta into each serving bowl and sprinkle with the parmesan. Divide the hot pasta into the bowls and sprinkle with the herbs.
Courses main course/pasta