This is a tasty little dish full of the flavors of summer. It’s simple and quick, perfect for a weeknight meal.
We love tomatoes, especially in the summertime when you can get fresh tomatoes wherever you go. We make lots of salads during the summer using the tomatoes as the centerpiece. We also bake them for a nice side vegetable. They are so abundant and so flavorful, we try to use them in all sorts of ways. One of the ways to pack a lot of flavor into dishes heavily relying on vegetables is by roasting them. Roasting adds another dimension to food. With vegetables, it has a tendency to round out their flavors to make them more mellow while simultaneously bringing out the natural sweetness in them. Roasting cherry tomatoes concentrates their flavor and natural sweetness while mellowing out some of the acidity and brightness. Nonetheless, they still have a nice little bite to them. Roasting garlic tends to mellow the harshness of the garlic leaving a sweet, tasty morsel with a ton of flavor. Roasting onions removes their bite leaving only a sweet tasty tidbit behind. In this recipe, we roast cherry tomatoes with the addition of garlic, onions, olive oil, and crushed red pepper flakes. The result s a powerfully flavorful but mellow dish with the natural sweetness of the veggies coming through. Coupled with the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and fresh basil at the end you have a very satisfying, simple and quick pasta dish.
One thing about this recipe, however, I need to stress. When you are preparing dishes that are very simple with little cooking you need to use the very best and freshest ingredients possible. Don’t try to use the cherry tomatoes that have been in the fridge for a week and are wrinkled. Make sure you have very fresh basil and definitely don’t use store bought bread crumbs in a box. Get you a nice loaf of bread and put it in your food processor to make your own bread crumbs. The difference in the dish will be night and day. Our local market makes a baguette with cracked black pepper and prosciutto that is to die for. When we make this recipe, we like to use that particular baguette. We don’t have to add pepper and the prosciutto gives in a nice depth of flavor and some added character to the dish. When you’re in a pinch during the week trying to feed you family, give this recipe a try. It will not disappoint. You can also serve it to company and they will love it.
- 1 lb farfalle (Bow tie) pasta (You can use others, i.e. penne, fusilli, gemelli. I prefer the farfalle)
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use red and yellow tomatoes because of the color)
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 medium onion, rough chop
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup fresh basil, cut chiffonade
- 1-1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp bacon, small dice (optional)
First thing first, lightly oil an 13 x 9 baking pan. Add the onions
Next the garlic
Now the tomatoes
Then the bread crumbs
Add 1/2 cup basil
Add crushed red chile flakes
Using your fingers, work the top layer of breadcrumbs, crushed red chile flakes, parmesan and basil down into the layer of cherry tomatoes, onion and garlic.
Top with parmesan cheese
Place in a preheated 375 F oven and roast for 30 – 35 minutes until the cheese and breadcrumbs have turned a nice golden brown.
While the veggies are roasting, bring a pot of highly salted water to a boil. About 13 minutes prior to the veggies being done, add the farfalle to the water and cook. When done, strain. When the bread crumbs and parmesan have turned golden brown, remove from the oven and pour over the pasta.
Toss to incorporate and finish by sprinkling the remaining basil over the top.
Serve and enjoy!