Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I've been on roasted cherry tomato kick lately. Not only are they warm and sweet, but they explode in your mouth (in a good way) - which is kind of fun for those of us who chew with our mouths closed. You definitely don't want to eat this sitting opposite someone who doesn't (you know who you are). So I tossed a bunch in with some pasta and then figured while the oven was on, I might as well roast some garlic too. Plus that log of goat cheese wasn't getting any fresher in the fridge. And it's always nice to add some type of herb for freshness and a few red pepper flakes, so it's not totally boring. These recipes practically write themselves.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 large head garlic
extra virgin olive oil
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
8 oz. pappardelle (or pasta of choice)
1 (11 oz.) log fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1.       Preheat the oven to 400º F.
2.       Peel away just the outer layers of garlic skin, leaving the skin intact on the individual cloves. Slice the top off the bulb (so you can see just a little of each clove). Place in a small ramekin or baking dish (or on a piece of aluminum foil) and drizzle with enough olive oil to coat all the cloves. Wrap completely with aluminum foil. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until the cloves are brown on the edges and the garlic is soft. Set aside to cool.
3.       While the garlic is roasting, toss the tomatoes with enough olive oil to generously coat in a large casserole dish or on a sheet pan with sides. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add to the oven with the garlic and roast until soft and some have exploded, about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Roasted garlic and tomatoes can both be made ahead.
4.       Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
5.       While the pasta cooks, squeeze the cooled roasted garlic out of the skins.
6.       Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the empty pasta pot. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (with any juices), roasted garlic and basil. Cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the garlic and about 1/4 of the tomatoes with your spoon or spatula.  Crumble in the goat cheese; stir until melted.
7.       Add back the cooked pasta along with 1/2 cup cooking liquid and stir until thoroughly coated. Add more liquid as needed if too dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
head of garlic
outer layers of skin peeled away
tops of cloves cut off; drizzled with olive oil
roasted garlic
roasted garlic cloves squeezed out of their skins
raw cherry tomatoes
roasted cherry tomatoes (I discovered the
yellow ones explode sooner than the red ones).
dried pappardelle
cooked pappardelle
goat cheese
red pepper flakes
tomatoes, garlic and basil added
mixing in the goat cheese
all melty and cheesy
mixing with the pasta
adding some starchy pasta cooking water


Judie Cleland said...

Oh, yummy. Our next Sunday night dinner with Jim--

Anonymous said...

This looks great and your pictures are such a help. Will try very soon. Becky

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