Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Pasta Ponza

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pasta Ponza

Occasionally I'll watch a few Giada at Home cooking shows to pass the time, and I fell in love when I came across this episode. I love cherry tomatoes and sometimes I'll eat them all by themselves like candy. She had made these dessert raviolis with orange-mint dipping sauce and those suckers looked amazing, too. Giada had explained that Ponza is a little Island off the west coast of Italy where her and her aunt first experienced this sweet and savory dish. I knew that I had to make the dish as well. This is a perfect pasta meal for meatless Mondays or you can add some proteins like spicy Italian sausages to the dish, too.

I absolutely loved the smell of the kitchen from the slow roasting tomatoes mixed in with the salty capers. I had a difficult time not eating the tomatoes by the spoonful after I took them out of the oven. (I had to have myself a sampling of tomato-goodness!) This dish is so delectable with the pecorino cheese, tangy capers, flavor popping grape tomatoes, and it is an instant reminder of summer gardens. This dish made me miss my tomato plants because it's so barren in my garden. But I know what I want to plant for next year, another round of San Marzano and cherry tomatoes - so I'll be making this all summer long! I served this with warm goat cheese salad and a side of garlic bread -a great meal to be shared with friends. Enjoy!

Pasta Ponza
Adapted from Giada at Home
Unsalted butter for greasing
2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup panko
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta
1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan with cooking spray or your misto. Set aside.

In the greased jelly roll pan add the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, salt and pepper. Carefully toss to coat and sprinkle the panko and bread crumbs over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on top. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the pasta into a large serving dish. Spoon the tomato mixture with the pasta and mix to combine. Add the shredded cheese and toss well. Taste for seasonings, add  salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

Review: Easy to prepare and so delicious. If you have a problem finding yellow cherry tomatoes, you can make this with red cherry tomatoes - it tastes just as good. I love how beautiful this simple pasta looks - the vivid yellow and red cherry tomatoes and it tastes as good as it looks, too!
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