OMG, this summer is flying by! Is it really August, and how did July disappear on me so fast?
I wish I had summer vacations like we used to when we were in school, then I could really enjoy summer activities. Lounging out at the beach, visiting the OC Fair, watching Big Brother all day long or just sleeping in. Things I fantasize about while I’m at my normal day job. Oh well. It’s one of the symptoms of being an adult. You deal with it.
Luckily, one of the great things of summer that I have been able to take advantage of is my wonderful garden. I’ve have eaten my fair share of San Marzano, grape and now Roma tomatoes. I went a little nutty this year and planted two more tomatoes plants, thinking one might die, or really all of them might die. So I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, all three tomato plants are thriving. I pick tomatoes off the vine almost everyday and these grape tomatoes are absolutely addicting. At one point, I had about 4 to 5 cups of grape tomatoes.
This is a wonderful spin on an old favorite of mine, Pasta Ponza, mixed with a little caprese and my other favorite tomato, sun-dried tomatoes. I’ve been on a sun-dried tomato kick lately, so this is a happy marriage of the two. The sweetness of the roasted tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes are an explosion of flavors that scream summer pasta. It’s a fantastic Meatless Monday meal that might make you forget about the summer vacation blues.
Duo Tomato Pasta
Inspired from Giada’s Pasta Ponza
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced finely
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup panko
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 pound penne pasta, or
1 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced
½ cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan with cooking spray or misto. Set aside.
In the greased jelly roll pan add the tomatoes, kalamata olives, 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 cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes and toss well. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper if needed.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to let the cheeses melt.
Serve and garnish with chopped basil.
Review: My favorite tomato pasta meal and best eaten the day it’s prepared. It does make plenty, so if you re-heat the leftovers make sure to add a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil on the top because the pasta might dry out in the microwave.