Cooking My Trip Part Two: Rigatoni with Cherry Tomato Sauce

As you’ll read in the post beneath this, the Monaco post, my favorite dish from the entire trip was the simplest thing in the world: rigatoni in a cherry tomato sauce. This would prove slightly difficult to recreate since my tomatoes came from a supermarket bin and the tomatoes at Il Terrazzino (where we ate this terrific dish) spent all day lavishing in the sun:

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Actually, for the first time since I’ve moved to New York (almost my one year anniversary!) I went to Fairway to do my grocery shopping. I was up near the park and I called Lisa who was near a computer to ask her to Google Fairway. “74th and Broadway,” she declared. So I trekked over and there it was, just as I’d imagined it. Funny signs advertised each item in the store. I wish I had a camera so you could see yourself but I promise to go back soon and photograph everything.

Anyway, cherry tomatoes came in red mesh bags at fairway and they were on a vine so that was pretty good. I bought basil and garlic and onion thinking I’d improvise a recipe. But when I got home (and for only the second time since I’ve moved to New York I took a bus home! Two big events all in one shopping trip) I looked up a cherry tomato sauce recipe on Epicurious. I came up with Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce. Well I didn’t have kalamata olives or capers or many of the ingredients necessary, but I did have cherry tomatoes and basil (the recipe calls for fresh oregano.) So I merged the recipe with my memory of what I ate in Monaco.

It worked out perfectly. This is so easy you really need to do this. It’s easier than making fresh tomato sauce. All you do is dump two bags worth of cherry tomatoes into a glass baking dish (13 X 9 X 2) and toss with 1/3 cup olive oil, 5 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper.

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Season with salt and pepper (I almost forgot to do this) roast for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Make sure to stir every now and then and take out “when tomatoes are tender and juicy.” They’ll look like this:

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And that’s really it! That’s your sauce!

Otherwise, all you have to do is boil the rigatoni (just follow the box), drain it, put it back in the pot, add the tomatoes and then–if you want to go my Monaco route–tear up fresh basil into it. Here’s the resulting dish:

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I don’t think it photographed very well (certainly not as well as my Greek salad or, for that matter, the dish this is based on…)

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But it still tasted terrific. I’m sure I’ll tweak it over time, but that simple idea of using cherry tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes in a summer sauce works wonders. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it!

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