Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Herbs & Garlic Ricotta

Recipe created by Chef Allison of Last Bite


“The chill of Autumn is slowing down most garden crops here in southeast Michigan, but there’s still enough sun power to ripen a few cherry tomatoes clinging to the vine.  This recipe imitates the craveable flavors of lasagna in very little time. With almost no effort, you can throw together these wonderful ingredients and satisfy even the pickiest of diners. Garnishing with a handful of mixed fresh herbs, shaved tangy pecorino romano, and a few uncooked halved cherry tomatoes delights the palate with a variety of colors, textures and flavors.”

Get Ready, Get Set

Ingredients (in order of use)

  • 10- 12 oz. Al Dente Pasta, your choice
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for the water)
  • 1 cup Fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves (for ricotta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (for seasoning)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  •  1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups asst. herb leaves: basil, mint, parsley.
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano, shaved
  • A handful of fresh cherry tomatoes

Let’s Go!

1.      Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt once water boils.

2.      Mix together 1 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 garlic cloves (microplaned or garlic pressed), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and ¼ cup finely ground parmigiano. Set aside.

3.      Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, approximately 1 minute shy of perfectly “al dente”. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

4.      Meanwhile, heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over low heat for 1-2 minutes.

5.  In a small bowl, coat the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

6.  Put oiled tomatoes into the preheated pan and cook until they caramelize in spots and begin to burst, about 5 minutes.

7.  In the last 30 seconds or so, add another tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and follow with finely minced garlic cloves. Once the garlic starts to get fragrant, add one pinch of red pepper flakes, and then 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer, smashing some of the softened cherry tomatoes into the liquid.

8.      Add drained pasta to the simmering sauce and gently toss.. If the mixture looks dry, add a little more reserved pasta water. Cook over medium heat until the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce, an additional minute or two. It will absorb some of the liquid and thicken the remaining liquid. Remove from heat. Toss with torn herb leaves.

9.     Garnish with dollops of garlic ricotta and shaved pecorino, a large handful of fresh torn herbs, a few halved fresh cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper before serving, if desired.


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