In the realm of culinary delights, the oven-roasted cherry tomato pasta puttanesca is a refreshing change. This variation infuses a rejuvenating spin on routine pasta dishes, thanks to its light tomato dressing, derived from roasted cherry tomatoes, which artistically adheres to the pasta. This dish encapsulates the essence of a balmy summer night’s dinner, which you can recreate whenever you have access to sweet cherry or grape tomatoes. And yes, rest assured, larger tomatoes will work just as well with a little slicing and roasting!
Ideal Dish for a Plethora of Cherry Tomatoes
With my folks’ tomato garden about to offer its yield, we are expecting an abundance of cherry tomatoes. At its peak, the garden offers a pint of ripe tomatoes daily. It’s quite the task to keep up with this tomato avalanche, albeit a delightful problem. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, either from your garden or local market, this recipe is a perfect solution. And how convincing is it? We’ve made it twice even before getting this post published!
Rather than the traditional tomato sauce, our pasta puttanesca is drenched in a thinner, yet perfectly flavorful, roasted cherry tomato “sauce”. Tossed with the pasta, it forms an impeccable amalgamation of flavors.
A Melange of Tastes & Textures
While it does call for a tiny bit of oven time (a mere 20 minutes!), the payoff is substantial. Roasting cherry tomatoes enhances their inherent sweetness and gives you an array of textures. Post-roasting, you’ll find some tomatoes slightly blistered and wilted, while others maintain their form, creating a delightful balance of fresh and roasted flavors in your puttanesca sauce.
The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes perfectly complements the slight bitterness of the olives and the tangy notes from the capers. Adding the nutty nuances of anchovies and Parmesan cheese to this mix takes the dish from great to sublime. And for those looking for a vegan or vegetarian option, simply skip the anchovies and swap in vegan cheese!
Pairing this pasta with a glass of full-bodied red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel, can enhance your dining experience. The bold and fruity notes of these wines pair wonderfully with the rich flavors of the pasta, taking the dish to new heights.
If you’re not fond of anchovies but still want a fishy hint in your dish, consider using umami-rich ingredients such as seaweed flakes or miso paste. They add a beautiful depth of flavor without overwhelming the dish with fishiness.
For an extra hit of freshness, consider adding a squeeze of lemon just before serving. The bright citrus notes will further enhance the existing flavors and add a refreshing layer to the overall taste profile.