July 29, 2005 10:07 AM | By Adam Roberts | 16 Comments

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:


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.


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:


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:


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...)


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!


Well Adam, it looks like you have discovered that you *must* always have a jar or two of kalamata olives and capers on hand - those ingredients come in handy over and over again - always good to have them around. Peace.

Wow. That looks SO YUMMY.
Must. Try. Soon.

I imagine this would also work just as well with grape tomatoes... particularly if you could get a mix of red and yellow. I will definitely have to try this one, and pair it with a greek salad to sate my envy and my hunger.

Oh my. I think I know what I'm doing when my cherry tomato plant finally has ripe fruit...

Hi Adam - I've made almost the same recipe for a while with plum tomatoes and I add a tin of anchovies that are minced and added to the pan. This is one of our all time favorite recipes. I can't wait to try it with the plum tomatoes I have in my garden.


Hi Adam
Sounds delicious..Le Pain Quotidien has these wild mountain capers that are amazingly flavourful if you ever feel like stocking up!

Ciao, I’m Italian and this is not the more representative kitchen of our country. Is a plate from Americans. Sin, we have other delights to offer....


hey- just noticed on kottke.org (who linked your cork improv post) that Robuchon is opening in NY... maybe you have better luck with Ducasse next time you are Monaco!

Fairway is a treat, but if you do take pictures look both ways first. Taking pictures is not allowed in the store so you have to do it surreptitiously. Better yet, take more pictures of pasta!

I tried the cherry tomato sauce this weekend and was shocked with the flavor! I was lucky enough to have farmer's market basil and cherries on hand. You rock- thanks for my new favorite sauce!

This post totally reminded me how much I love this dish, and inspired me to make it Friday night! I'll be posting about it on Monday, complete with pictures and all.

I made the dish last night, it's great. Although, as I am wont to do, I put WAY too much garlic in it (I still like it... it's just that no one wants to be near me right now).

It's a great dish to play with--I've already thought of a number of ways to play with the recipe.

Another sheep here-- I made it tonight (Adam-style, with basil and without those nasty olives), twas fantastic. I added a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach (put it all back in the pasta pan and stirred it up to wilt it a bit) and a little feta cheese. Delicious!

Adam, saw this and had some grape tomatoes wanting to be eaten. Roasted as you suggested but added a handful of fresh thyme sprigs from the garden. When I tossed it with the pasta, I had saved some of the pasta water (as any good pasta maker should) and in order to make it look more like the original, added a good squirt of Italian tomato paste (sold in tubes) to a bit of the pasta water and mixed it in. It was MARVELOUS, and although I can't say the tomato paste made it taste better, it did give a lovely tomatoey hue to the pasta! Brava!

I went ahead and made this tonight, and it came out very well. I added a little bit of onion, which didn't seem to affect anything either way. I did use a little too much balsamic, and it overpowered the flavor of the rest of the sauce, so I'll be sure to use less next time.


Tried this recipe for this first time-it's a keeper! Great flavour from the sweet cherry tomatoes...I'll be eating this a few more times before summer ends.

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