11 March 2011

Rotini with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta My Best Winter-Hoping-for-Spring Pasta

Rotini with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta

After making the cannoli cream for my fruit salad last weekend I found myself with a large amount of fresh ricotta leftover.  I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I have had ricotta spoil in my refrigerator, but this time I was determined to make good use of it by creating a tasty pasta dish.

This technique is so easy and yields such delicious results that I hope you'll add it to your winter repertoire once you've tried it. It is now my favourite method for winter tomatoes. While you're puttering around your house this weekend, tuck a pan of tomatoes in the oven, come back 45 minutes later, and have a peak. They will add a whole new dimension of flavour to your pasta dishes!

Not only does slow-roasting concentrate and caramelize the intense flavour of cherry tomatoes, but it also gives them a meatier, more robust texture. The roasted tomatoes become versatile ingredients, perfect for tossing into pasta or salads, layering on sandwiches and crostini, or just using as a terrific side dish for grilled or roasted meats. They keep in the refrigerator for a week (or longer, I suppose, if you can manage not to eat them all first), and you can freeze them, too. A bonus is the lovely tomato-infused olive oil left over after roasting; drizzle it over grilled vegetables or on crusty bread, or use it in a vinaigrette.

The technique is simple: spread them in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and herbs, and coat generously in olive oil. Roast slowly until the tomatoes are a deep, rich brown and very collapsed. You can certainly use this method in the winter months on less-than-ripe tomatoes that you would otherwise use as ping pong balls. They will remind you of lost sun-kissed summer days, and they will have intense flavour after roasting. This simple dish has turned out to be one of my favourite winter dishes of all time!

I am sending this dish over to Ruth for Presto Pasta Nights . Ruth at Once Upon a Feast just celebrated their 4 year anniversary. Can you believe it Ruth!!! You will always find a myriad of delicious dishes from lasagna to Pho on Ruth's Presto Pasta Night site. This week the event is being hosted by Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner. So get your healthy carbs on!!!

**Rotini with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta**
idea from Emeril Lagasse

1 pound red cherry tomatoes
1 pound yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons slivered garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces whole-milk farm ricotta, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup Pecorino cheese (grated)
Additional fresh herbs, chopped for garnish

Hot French or Italian bread, accompaniment

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a large, glass baking dish, toss the tomatoes with the oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the basil, parsley, and oregano. Stir well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot. Toss with the extra virgin olive oil. Add the tomatoes and pan juices and cook over low heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the ricotta cheese and stir until mostly melted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Toss with the pine nuts and Pecorino cheese. Garnish with additional herbs, as desired, and serve immediately, with the Italian or French bread.

Serves 4 - 6

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I couldn't agree more... Winter be gone! Although this dish will definitely help me survive it. I'm already imagining the aroma of the tomatoes roasting. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  2. Val, you can freeze ricotta, good as a dessert with honey or...make a tart.

  3. It is also good spread on crumpets and drizzled with honey.My problem is having the best of intentions and not enough hour in in the day:D

  4. Things go bad in my refrigerator too Val. I wish I could say it didn't happen to me, but unfortunately it does.

    I've just discovered roasting tomatoes. Where have they been all of my life.

  5. Peter beat me to my comment. I often smear ricotta on a piece of toast and drizzle honey for a delicious breakfast...but I also add a little black pepper. I love the combination.

    Once I started cooking tomatoes in the oven or stove top, I stopped using canned tomatoes. There's no going back.

  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's forgotten about extra ricotta! :) This is a wonderful way to use it and hurry spring along. (My old Italian neighbor used to spread ricotta on toas -- didn't even bother to sweeten it; just said "Yum!")

  7. This sounds like a perfect recipe to enjoy while waiting for spring--even afterwards. My present challenge is getting fresh basil. Soon!


  8. A delicious combination! Ricotta is so versatile.



  9. Left-over fresh Ricotta is always welcomed at my house ;o)
    Lovely and tasty pasta dish Val.

    Have a great weekend,

  10. Love ricotta too Vall, is really delicious with everything!! love this! hope you have a lovel weekend! gloria

  11. Um, yeah. I've created a science project out of a tub of ricotta or two. (hangs head in shame). I'm so longing for summer cherry tomatoes. In fact, I'm whimpering. I love this dish, Val. Now, if I could find some decent cherry tomatoes at the supermarket...
    PS: I'm going to try making my own ricotta. Ina Garten made it look easy, so why not?!

  12. Ever since I tasted the incredible flavor of roasted cherry tomatoes, I'm convinced that they are the perfect addition to pasta . . . so simple and yet so delicious! Here's hoping that warmer weather comes your way soon, Val.

  13. So italian :-) I love this!


  14. I love that we are all wishing for spring. This meal would coax it from hiding.

  15. Grr, I just had to throw out bad ricotta too, Val. So frustrating! :-) Love that you roasted the cherry tomatoes with this. Delicious!!

  16. I love roasting cherry tomatoes too. They are great in so many combinations. I make a version of this pasta when I make ricotta. It is truly a treat.

  17. I have found that any soft or young cheese freezes beautifully, as Peter has said- but then needs to be cooked afterward or used for a sauce.
    Looks yummy!

  18. This sounds like a great dish for this time of year!

  19. I've also had ricotta sour in my fridge and it always makes me feel SO TERRIBLE! And makes me wish I'd just eaten it out of the jar and given into temptation. Sigh. THis pasta dish looks perfect! Definitely going to be my go-to the next time I've got some ricotta lying around!

  20. YUM - it won't be long before you have fresh herbs to use from your own pots. Your suggestion about oven roasting the tomatoes is a perfect one for the relatively tasteless tomatoes we get all winter here in Canada - it sure makes the tomatoes POP!

    Have a super weekend.

  21. It's sad to see the price of tomatoes lately...even the ping pong ball versions! I love oven roasting tomatoes too and I'll be so happy when my garden tomatoes are bearing fruit again.

    I'm happy to see in your comments that you can freeze ricotta. I'd love to try this dish!

  22. it's the fresh basil that does it for me in this dish. Nice.

  23. Oh, I want THAT for dinner tonight! It's beautiful Val. xo

  24. So just to clarify, if I make this dish spring will come sooner?
    (It looked pretty good on its own, but now I'll be making it daily :)

  25. I could eat ricotta in any way or form. I like baking it with roasted tomatoes and using it as a spread.

    I thing your dish is a perfect comfort food.

    Going to post soon: adopt a blogger with Joan...Making my dish today.

  26. Nice - I want to try this. I keep thinking about pre-roasting my veggies before added them to dishes and never do it. This looks really good.

  27. Val, I know that this is the second comment that I've left on your Rotini recipe post, but I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I agree with you in that I'm longing for summer's freshness too. Thanks for your sweet comment!

  28. rotini is the perfect pasta shape for this sauce--all those nooks and crannies will be magnificently filled!

  29. Lovely dish full of fresh vibrant flavours. Very nice!

  30. Your rotini dish looks really good! I love roasted tomatoes. Roasting is an especially good way to improve tomato quality in the winter when they're "off season." I want to try this sometime soon.

  31. This winter has been terrible! I have some ricotta leftover from a polenta lasagna I've made (although some of it has gone to my 11 month old, who loves it spread on toast. :) I think I have just enough to make a pasta similar to this on Wednesday, when I'm home alone for dinner. Thanks for the inspiration!

  32. This recipe looks amazing! Last year, we planted our first garden and we were left with too many cherry tomatoes. I don't eat raw tomatoes and my husband could only eat so many himself! I know what I'll be using our extra tomatoes for this summer!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Coming over from Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy and Low Calorie!

  33. This is yet another reminder of how much I can't wait for the summer season and excess tomatoes. I love slow roasting veggies, and this looks delicious.

  34. Just saw this on Presto Pasta Night. Yum! Thanks for sharing and I;d love to try it!


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