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Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta


It's that time of year again when the cherry tomatoes are overflowing in your garden and the Farmer's Markets. We love eating them raw in salads, of course, but how about roasting them until they are soft and sweet and serve them over pasta?  This simple dish is a snap to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand anyway. 

This dish is not about the pasta being overly dressed - remember, the sauce on pasta should just complement the pasta, not drown it.  Garlic is sauteed in a little good olive oil and then a spash of white wine and chicken broth are added with some seasoning.  There's a hint of tomato sauce, but not much.  The star of the show here is the roasted cherry tomatoes, so we let them shine with just a light sauce underneath them.

ceramic plates from Fifty One and a Half


pure white ricotta salata cheese


I used ricotta salata, a salty cheese I like but you can use Parmigiano Reggiano cheese instead.  Whole Foods carries ricotta salata and any specialty Italian deli will have it.  It's a salted, dried version of ricotta that grates easily and is just barely moist.  It's delicious - please try it if you are able to find it. 


Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta

serves 4

for a printable recipe, click here

22 ounces cherry tomatoes
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup of tomato sauce
few grinds of black pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
8 ounces of thin spaghetti (or any other pasta you like)
ricotta salata or any other cheese you like for grating
fresh basil leaves, sliced

Heat oven to 425° F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Place the tomatoes, whole on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, until they collapse a little and are soft.  Remove from oven and let rest.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil and garlic together until the garlic is soft - don't burn it! Add the white wine, chicken broth, tomato sauce, pepper and onion powder.  Simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered and then turn off heat and cover with a lid. 

Boil the pasta until very al dente - you should take the pasta out before you think it is done. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the pot.  Remove the spaghetti with tongs and place right into the skillet with the sauce, allowing a little of the pasta water clinging to the pasta to go into the skillet.  The starchy pasta water will help in making the sauce.  Toss the pasta in the sauce until well coated.  Pour the pasta into a large serving bowl and grate the cheese over the pasta.  Toss again. Grate more cheese.   Sprinkle the sliced basil leaves over the pasta and place the roasted cherry tomatoes on top.  Enjoy! (Be careful cutting the tomatoes - they squirt!)



Charred Corn Summer Salad

This is one of my favorite summer salads.  With sweet corn coming into season and tomatoes and peppers just around the corner, this is a great Farmer's Market dish. The dressing that I make for this makes the salad bright and crisp. It's easy to feed a crowd with this.

I like to grill the corn first in its husks and then char it.  I leave the corn in its husks and soak it in water for about 30 minutes.  This allows the corn to steam on the grill first before pulling back the husks and giving the corn a final char.  

For the sweet peppers, you can use any sweet pepper you like but I am really loving the mini sweet peppers right now for raw dishes - you can slice them into such nice little rings.

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Chocolate Crostata with Mascarpone Mousse


"Crostata" is a term used for an Italian tart. This dessert is a chocolate lover's dream and comes from Katherine Thompson, the pastry chef at several top NYC restaurants, including L'Artusi in the West Village and L'Apicio in the East Village. The recipe is from a book called "Women Chefs of New York", which features great women like Sara Jenkins, April Bloomfield and (my favorite) Gabrielle Hamilton. My future daughter-in-law, Robyn, gave me this terrific book for Christmas and as soon as I saw this recipe, I wanted to make it.   

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