Monday, April 25, 2011

Pasta with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Sometimes I plan dinners based on cravings or recipes I've found, but some dinners are born out of necessity.  Like I have an ingredient that I need to use before it goes bad.  I bought some mascarpone for a Project Pastry Queen recipe that I never made, and I had some grape tomatoes that were about to turn as well.  I actually wasn't sure if I wanted to use the mascarpone in a sweet or savory application, but when I found this recipe for pasta with mascarpone and roasted grape tomatoes, I knew it was meant to be.

This is a really simple dinner. Grape tomatoes are halved, roasted, then tossed with cooked shells, mascarpone cheese, and chives.  The dish is then topped with some parmesan and baked briefly.  This is truly one of those dihes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  I love the flavor of roasted tomatoes - rich and sweet, and they pair perfectly with the rich and creamy mascarpone.  I made a few minor tweaks and additions, but the nice thing about this recipe is that it is open to so many adaptations:  add some Italian sausage, try out different herbs, add some extra veggies... the possibilities are endless.  I served this with roasted asparagus and bread, and we enjoyed a lovely spring meal.

Pasta with Mascarpone and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
adapted from Gourmet, February 2004
serves 6
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb pasta shapes, such as shells
  • 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Toss the tomatoes and garlic with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast until slightly plumped, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time.  Remove the garlic cloves and mince.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, until just shy of al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.  Transfer to a large bowl.

Mix the pasta with the mascarpone, stirring until melted.  Add the cooking water, a little at a time, until the sauce looks thinned but not watery.  Stir in the wine, red pepper flakes, garlic, tomatoes, half the Parmesan cheese, 3 Tbs of the chives, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. 

Lightly grease 6 individual gratin dishes, or a 9x13 baking dish.  Divide the pasta evenly among the dishes, then top with the remaining Parmesan. 

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pasta is golden and bubbly.  Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve.


Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

What a perfect pasta dish, Josie! This looks so delicious and simple, and I love all the flavors you used. Thanks for sharing!

Joanne said...

I am so in love with this pasta dish! The roasted tomatoes...the luscious mascarpone...just gorgeous!

Laura said...

I've actually got some marscarpone in the fridge...think this will fill the blank in next weeks meal plan. Looks great!

Allison said...

I hate wasting food. What an amazing dish you made with food on hand. I love roasted tomatoes. Fantastic.

Cate said...

Roasting grape tomatoes is so genius! I love how it transforms their flavor and makes them so much richer. This looks like a perfect comfort food dish!

Annie said...

Mmm, this looks so delicious. I can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

Yum! That looks great! Great spring meal!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pasta dish! Love this.

Sophia said...

Wow this looks so good!! Love that you used shell pasta!

Heather S. said...

I roasted some asparagus with the tomatoes and YUM this was amazing. Thank you for sharing, I'll definitely be making this again and again.

nicole said...

ooo this looks so good. I love roated tomatoes. I make them all the time.

Josie said...

Heather, I'm so glad you liked it! It really is a perfect spring pasta dish.

Alex said...

this was so yum and easy to put together! i love the idea of asparagus, i'll have to try that next time. thanks for sharing!

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