Spaghetti with Roast Cherry Tomatoes, Chili and Basil

by Kristin on August 16, 2012

Remember physically cutting recipes out of newspapers and magazines or writing them by hand onto recipe cards, to be filed away into boxes or binders? I was cleaning out my kitchen recently and found two big binders full of recipe clippings, shoved out of reach at the back of a cabinet, that I had completely forgotten about. I dusted them off and flipped through them to save any of the recipes that had caught my eye a decade ago that still sounded good, and it occurred to me that this would probably be the last time I ever paged through torn-out recipes. Now, if I see a recipe in print that I want to save for later, I look it up online and bookmark it or add it to my spreadsheet. This was a recipe I had cut out of a newspaper years and years ago, the original source long since forgotten, the paper already turning yellow and brittle, an old summer favorite happily rediscovered.

If you’re looking for ways to use up an abundance of garden tomatoes, try these too: Chicken Cacciatore, Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Tart, Ravioli and Tomato Salad, Oven-roasted Ratatouille, or Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce.

Spaghetti with Roast Cherry Tomatoes, Chili and Basil

Serves 4

This would look especially nice if you used a mix of yellow and red cherry tomatoes. You could also add some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the sauce if you have them.

olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb 2 oz (500 g) cherry tomatoes, 16–20 left whole and the rest cut into quarters
1 teaspoon sugar
splash of white wine or vermouth (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of basil, leaves removed from stems and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
1 lb (450 g) spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the garlic and chopped chili and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to let the garlic will burn or it will taste bitter and ruin the dish. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Turn up the heat and cook for a minute or two, then add just a splash of white wine or vermouth (or water) and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rapid splutter, then lower the heat and let it gently bubble away until reduced to a thick-ish sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, reserving a cupful of the cooking water when it’s done. Scatter the remaining tomatoes onto a baking sheet, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the hot oven for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes start to split.

To serve, add the cooked, drained pasta to the chili tomato sauce, stirring well until all the pasta is coated with sauce. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Stir in the basil and divide the pasta between 4 plates or shallow bowls. Add the roasted tomatoes individually to the top of each dish. Finish with a few basil leaves to garnish and a grating of Parmesan.

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