We're starting to hit the summer months and you know what that means: an abundance of fresh, summer produce that is ripe for the picking! A great way to use those cherry tomatoes is with this Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes. It's an incredibly simple recipe, and makes a delicious dish that highlights those amazing summer ingredients.
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This recipe is great for any kind of cherry tomato, so feel free to use any color or type that you have on hand!
If you're looking to round out a summer meal, this recipe pairs well with Simple Summer Frosé as a before-dinner drink and Black Pepper Focaccia to soak up some of the olive oil and extra tomato juices.
This is a very forgiving recipe, so feel encouraged to "measure with your heart" on this one! If you feel you want more or less of something, go for it!
- Crusty bread: a crusty bread like sourdough is fantastic to make the toasted bread chunks. If you prefer a finer breadcrumb, that works as well (just watch the baking time as those will not need to bake as long). This is also a great place to use up those ends of bread in the pantry that are a bit past their prime.
- Garlic cloves: you'll want to mince the garlic for this recipe.
- Shallot: I recommend thinly slicing the shallot. It's nice to have a little texture, but you also want to make sure that there is enough to disperse throughout the pasta.
- Cherry tomatoes: this will work with any color / type of cherry tomato. I'd also encourage you to be generous here with your measuring. It will never be a bad thing to add a little extra!
- Honey: this is to help cut the acidity of the tomatoes. You could also use sugar instead, or leave it out if you feel your tomatoes are sweet enough!
- Dried pasta: spaghetti noodles work well here, but you could also certainly use another pasta shape! Fresh pasta will work as well, just make sure to cook it according to the appropriate directions.
- Fresh basil: chopped or shredded for topping.
- Roasted pine nuts: for topping. You can roast the pine nuts at the same time as the bread chunks. Just keep an eye out as these may be finished before the bread chunks are ready, and they'll burn quickly!
- Pantry staples including olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
See recipe below for full step-by-step directions.
This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, so let's get started!
Tear your crusty bread into bite-sized chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for 10-12 minutes, watching closely (they'll burn quickly!).
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Sauté the garlic and shallot in olive oil in a large skillet.
Add the cherry tomatoes, honey, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Cook for 6-8 minutes until the tomatoes "burst" and release their juices.
Once the tomatoes are ready, toss with the cooked pasta and garnish with fresh basil, toasted bread chunks and pine nuts, and additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Tip: It only takes a few minutes for the tomatoes to burst. You don't want to cook them down to a tomato sauce, so once you see them pop, they're ready!
A note on the bread chunks
I like to tear the bread into bite-size chunks - keep in mind that in one fork-full, you'll want to get pasta, tomatoes and a bread chunk all together. If you want to make smaller breadcrumbs, use a spice grinder or food processor and pulse until you reach your desired size and consistency. If you make a smaller breadcrumb, they will likely not need to bake for as long, so be sure to keep an eye out!
In this recipe, we use olive oil, salt and pepper with the bread chunks. You could also throw in extra spices here. A little garlic powder or paprika could be wonderful, so feel free to experiment a bit!
Assembling your pasta
You can either toss the pasta in the sauce, or place the cooked pasta on your serving platter and pour the sauce on top. Then sprinkle with roasted pine nuts and bread chunks, torn fresh basil, flaky sea salt (I like to use Maldon Sea Salt) and fresh black pepper. Be generous here! There is no such thing as too many toppings!
A pasta dish like this requires only simple kitchen equipment. I like to use a Staub Cast Iron Cocotte (FYI you can almost always find these pots on sale somewhere!) to cook my pasta, but you could use any kind of pasta pot. I also use the Caraway Sautée Pan to make the burst tomato sauce; any large skillet would work well here!
If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up 3-5 days. If possible, store the bread chunks and roasted pine nuts separately from the pasta. If they're mixed in together, they'll lose their crunch (but they'll still be good!). If you store them separately, you can reheat the pasta and then top with still-crispy toppings, and more fresh basil.
This recipe is incredibly forgiving, and I encourage you to measure with your heart! Do you really love garlic? Add a little extra? Do you have a TON of cherry tomatoes to use? Add some more to the mix!
If your pasta is feeling at all "dry," (especially if you're reheating leftovers, drizzle with a little additional olive oil to bring all the flavors. together.
Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
For the bread chunks
- 2 slices crusty bread torn into bite-size chunks
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the pasta
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes (approximately 4 cups)
- 1 pound dried pasta such as spaghetti
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- fresh basil chopped, for topping
- flaky sea salt for topping
- roasted pine nuts for topping
- roasted bread chunks for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Tear bread slices into bite-sized chunks and place on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat and then spread evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Be careful - these will burn quickly! Set aside to cool.
- In a pot of salted water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and sautée for 2 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes, salt, honey, red pepper flakes, and black pepper and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes burst and release their juices.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve topped with fresh basil, roasted pine nuts and bread chunks, and flaky sea salt.