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This post is inspired by my online friend Marcia who wrote in a post that she has too many cherry tomatoes. Imagine that! Too much of something from a garden? Seems like it's always too little or too much.
This recipe was inspired by all the colorful little tomatoes now available at farmers markets and Trader Joe's, where I happen to shop. For about $3 you can get a little tub of little tomatoes. I wanted the flavor of a Caprese salad with the addition of a little pasta.
The recipe also was influenced by the fact that it is warm much of the year out here in Southern California, and my husband likes me to use the oven as little as possible.
But browned cheese is just so delicious, that I came up with the compromise of using a high heat for a short period of time, like pizza. I added the Parmesan because it's so good browned!
This dish tries to include a good amount of vegetables. You can mix in some spinach or arugula, or serve the pasta on top, to increase the tasty vegetables in this dish.
I hope you enjoy!
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or 2-3 lg tomatoes, chopped)
1/2 bag pennete (or similar) pasta (8 oz), cooked (can use leftover)
1 1/2 cup chopped mozzarella
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil, chopped or torn
Heat the oven to 450 degrees, F. Combine pasta, 1 cup cheese (reserve some), and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, mix well. Put reserved cheese on top.
Put into oven as quickly as possible, turn heat down to 425 F and set the timer for 12 minutes.
When done, turn off the oven for the browning to finish.
Remove and cool slightly, top with basil.
Serve over arugula. Serves 2-4.
If you are starting with uncooked pasta, do not start the oven until the pasta has cooled slightly