Roasted tomatoes, mascarpone cheese and fresh chives turn an ordinary box of dried pasta into a main dish that is anything but ordinary!
This is an easy meatless weeknight meal you can throw together but it looks and tastes like something you'd get at a trendy Italian bistro. Not counting the salt and pepper, there are only five ingredients at play here, but the one that makes this dish really unique is the roasted grape tomatoes. And they are so easy to make. All you do is cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and roast them for about 20 minutes till they plump up.
After you cook the pasta, you toss it with creamy mascarpone cheese--
And then add in the chives, parmesan cheese and roasted tomatoes--
Spoon it into a buttered baking dish, top it with a little more grated parm and bake it for about 20 minutes--
It's that simple. Pair it with a tossed salad and dinner is served!
This was a big hit with my family and is the kind of dish you could make earlier in the day, keep it refrigerated and then just throw it in to the oven to bake before dinner. I love those kind of meals, because when I am shuttling people from activity to activity in the afternoon, it's kind of hard to get dinner on the table at a normal time. And it reheats well in the microwave--if there are any leftovers, that is!
If you're going to indulge in carbs, this is the one to do it with! Try it tonight!
Roasted Tomato Pasta Bake
Serves 6 as a main dish
Prep Time: 25 minutes; Bake Time: 18-20 minutes; Total Time: 45 minutes
For the roasted tomatoes:
- 2 pints grape of cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the pasta
- 1 lb pasta ( I used rigatoni but you could use any other medium sized tube pasta or shell)
- 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese
- 2 oz. (1 cup) grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Place tomatoes cut side up on the pan and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes plump up slightly. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally, and cook for about 12 minutes, or till it's al dente. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the mascarpone to the pasta and toss until the cheese is melted and coats the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water, the tomatoes, half of the parmesan, 3/4 of the chives and the salt and pepper and mix well. Let the mixture cool slightly.
4. Then pour into a buttered 9"x 13" dish (or something else around that size) and sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on top. Bake the casserole about 18-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Sprinkle with the rest of the chives and serve.
Note: This recipe is slightly adapted from a February 2004 issue of Gourmet.