Friday, September 21, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Basil Pasta

I kid you not. I walked out of an exercise class a couple weeks ago at the gym to find a man selling flavored olive oils. In. The. Gym. He had pieces of baguette to sample each kind and everything. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. As a blogger, this was awesome. The food literally came to me!

I sampled several of the different types (he also had a reduced balsamic glaze that was to die for), and ended up settling on a trio of basil, garlic, and lemon-infused oils. At that point, I had a new mission. How I was going to use these for dinner?

I know the flavors in this dish are a little summery, but fall doesn't officially start until tomorrow. I can proudly say that this dish is entirely my creation, and it turned out quite well if I do say so myself, although it's hard to go wrong with the tomato-basil-pesto combination.

I started by drizzling the tomatoes with garlic and lemon oil, salt, and pepper and roasting them in the oven to concentrate their flavor. The idea and taste were spot on, but I can tell you do as I say, not as I do. First, I highly recommend lining your pan with parchment paper and not foil. Secondly, keep a close eye on those critters. I cooked mine for a bit too long. Nonetheless, the tomatoes were amazing. I could have eaten them alone for dinner!
The pesto I used in here is a recipe I made and froze last year from America's Test Kitchen's The Best Light Recipes. I'll have to share that sometime as well. My husband has since decided to pull up the basil forest growing in our backyard garden, so I may have to wait until the new plant grows a little more.

Hope you enjoy this!

Printable Recipe

Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp. garlic-infused olive oil, divided
2 tsp. lemon-infused olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
8 oz. whole wheat pasta
1-2 Tbsp. basil pesto 
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchement paper. Drizzle with 1 tsp. of each olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes have started to dry. This was about 25-30 minutes in my oven, but if you want them to be more like sun-dried tomatoes, this will take longer.

Boil water and prepare pasta to al dente preparation according to package directions. Drain. 

In a large skillet, add the remaining 1 tsp. of each oil, the pesto, and the lemon juice. Add the pasta and stir to coat each of the pieces. Let the pasta "cook" in the skillet for a few minutes. Add the prepared tomatoes, basil, and feta cheese. Heat through and serve with a small sprinkle of feta cheese.

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