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July 14, 2014

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

The vinaigrette for this roasted garlic and tomato pasta salad uses leftover tomato juices from the baking dish along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The vinaigrette for this roasted garlic and tomato pasta salad uses leftover tomato juices from the baking dish along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I haven’t eaten enough tomatoes this summer, and time already feels like it’s ticking away at an alarming rate.

Canned tomatoes are my go-to until that precious window when fresh tomatoes are ripe with flavor. It’s the best time of the year.

The Sun Golds and Sweet 100s growing steadily in containers on our back deck aren’t quite ready to be picked.

Whenever I’m feeling impatient, I go ahead and buy a few pints of grape tomatoes at the grocery.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with supermarket tomatoes especially when they’re in season somewhere in the US.

In the Midwest, it takes a while for tomatoes to appear at the farmers market.

With my tomato purchases, there are endless possibilities including this roasted tomato and garlic pasta salad.

Roasting Grape Tomatoes

I like halving small tomatoes like grape or cherry tomatoes and tossing them with olive oil, salt and pepper.

All you have to do is arrange them in a dish and put them in the oven.

When the tomatoes are close together as they roast, they get really juicy, and then that juice can be put to use for the dressing on the pasta.

You’ll know the tomatoes are ready when you see they are wrinkled and have lost some of their shape.

The Ingredients

This is what you need for the pasta salad:

  • Grape tomatoes: You can use either grape or cherry tomatoes. It doesn’t matter if they are all red or a rainbow of colors. Roasting brings out their intense flavor.
  • Garlic: The garlic cloves roast with the tomatoes and then they are used in the dressing for the pasta.
  • Cavatappi pasta: I love how this curly pasta hugs the tomatoes. If you can’t find this shape, use fusilli instead.
  • Olive oil: The sauce for this pasta is a combination of olive oil and tomato juices from the baking dish.
  • Balsamic vinegar: For a little acidity and tang, balsamic vinegar is such an obvious choice with tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella.
  • Pesto: A couple spoonfuls of pesto give the pasta salad a familiar summer herby taste.
  • Mozzarella: Inspired by the ingredients in a caprese salad, I add torn fresh mozzarella.
  • Pine nuts: Lightly toasted pine nuts give the pasta salad a little crunch.
  • Salt & pepper: The tomatoes and garlic are seasoned with salt and pepper before they go in the oven, but you may need to add a little more once you taste the final dish.

How To Make Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

First, I preheat the oven and toast the pine nuts.

Then in a rectangular baking dish, I toss the tomatoes and garlic with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

The tomatoes roast until they are wrinkled, but still very juicy.

With the tomatoes in the oven, I simmer the pasta on the stove until it is just al dente. It’s especially important with pasta salad to make sure the pasta retains some of its bite. Make sure to rinse the pasta in cold water when it’s finished cooking.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

I put the cavatappi into a large bowl. Next I use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to the pasta.

With the juices still in the baking dish, I squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves from their skins.

It may seem like a lot of garlic, but roasting mellows it out.

Using a fork, I whisk the roasted garlic along with a little pesto into the leftover tomato juices and olive oil in the baking dish.

This becomes the sauce, which is great because nothing goes to waste.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

The spiral-shaped cavatappi noodles allowed for a balanced distribution of tomatoes with a few more accompaniments including chopped basil, fresh mozzarella and toasted pine nuts.

I also add chopped chives.

This would be just as good served hot, but given the season, it seems far more appropriate eaten at room temperature or chilled.

Print
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Salad

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

The vinaigrette for this roasted garlic and tomato pasta salad uses leftover tomato juices from the baking dish along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 pint pounds grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 8 ounces cavatappi pasta
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1/4 cup torn basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread the pine nuts on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven until they turn golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. In a rectangular baking dish, combine the tomatoes and garlic. Stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes until the tomatoes have deepened in color and have slightly wrinkled.
  4. While the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Once the tomatoes have cooled, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the bowl with the pasta. Slip the garlic cloves out of their skins and whisk the garlic and pesto into the remaining liquid in the baking dish. Pour over the pasta and stir in the basil, chives, mozzarella and pine nuts. Season to taste.
  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

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