This dish is moderately inspired by a Rachel Ray recipe. I usually don’t dig her recipes, but with a few tweaks this turned out to be a surprisingly flavorful, light, fresh lunch.
What You Need:
1. 1 lb. penne pasta
2. 2 pints grape tomatoes
3. 10-12 cloves of garlic
4. Fresh basil – I used about half a bunch from the grocery store but you can use more or less depending on your tastes
5. Olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano
6. Grated Reggiano cheese
7. Red pepper flakes
What To Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread out the tomatoes on the sheet.
2. Crack the garlic (smash it under a knife with the base of your palm) but leave it in the skin. Spread it out with the tomatoes on the sheet and season with salt & pepper.
3. Roast the tomatoes and garlic for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil (for cooking the pasta).
4. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Cook it for about 2 minutes less than what the directions say – you want it to be slightly undercooked because it will cook more once the sauce is added. When the pasta is cooked, set aside two ladles full of the starchy water before draining. You need this for the sauce.
5. When the 20 minutes is up, remove the roasted garlic and tomatoes from the oven. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and mash them into a paste (use a fork or knife).
6. Add the garlic paste to the starchy water you previously set aside. Mix well to make a garlic broth. Add the roasted tomatoes and mash with a potato masher. Don't worry if the tomatoes don't fully mash up - it's better if they're a little chunky!
7. Add the pasta to the tomato/garlic broth. Mix well and add the fresh basil. Let it sit for a couple of minutes so the pasta will absorb the broth.
8. Serve with fresh Reggiano sprinkled on top. Enjoy!!
TIPS: I added some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little kick (I love spicy foods). Some goat cheese sprinkled on top, instead of the Reggiano, adds a creamy smooth flavor to the dish. This isn’t a heavy sauce kind of dish – it’s more about the pasta and veggies.