Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, and Basil

September 18, 2012

We’ll be leaving soon to go on vacation, so I’m furiously trying to use up the perishable ingredients around the house. In addition to the cherry tomatoes we received in our CSA box for the past two weekends, one of my coworkers brought in a bagful from his garden for me! So I needed to find a recipe that would use up a LOT of cherry tomatoes (and not require me to buy too many additional ingredients). Pasta dishes are usually a good bet since I’ve come across several cherry tomato sauces in the past, and this recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook was a perfect fit since it calls for 2 pounds of tomatoes!

Cherry tomatoes mixed with shallots, garlic, and balsamic vinegar take on a wonderfully sweet, complex flavor when roasted, perfect as a topping for pasta. And of course you can’t make a recipe like this without fresh basil and Parmesan sprinkled on top!

I wouldn’t exactly classify this as a weeknight recipe since the tomatoes do have to roast for about 40 minutes (and it takes a little bit of time to halve all 2 pounds of them), but if you do have a little extra time on a weeknight, the recipe is certainly not complicated. Perfect for a light end-of-summer supper!

Pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1  shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/4  cup olive oil
  • 2  pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3  large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1  tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1½  teaspoons sugar
  • Salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4  teaspoon pepper
  • 1  pound short pasta, such as penne
  • 2  ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350 degrees F. Toss shallot with 1 teaspoon olive oil in small bowl. On rimmed baking sheet, gently toss cherry tomatoes with remaining oil, garlic, vinegar, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper flakes, and pepper. Spread out into even layer and scatter shallot over tomatoes.
  2. Roast until edges of shallot begin to brown and tomato skins are slightly shriveled, 35 to 40 minutes. (Do not stir tomatoes during roasting.) Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot. Scrape tomato mixture into pot; add basil and toss to combine. Add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust consistency. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

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