Pasta

Turn Your Cherry Tomatoes Into This Easy, Creamy Pasta Sauce

With a secret ingredient that makes it extra luscious.

Sponsored
June 21, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.

We've partnered with Hood Cream, makers of great-tasting, high-quality cream, to share a weeknight dinner recipe we'll be making all summer long: a cherry tomato pasta that gets its creaminess from half-and-half!


When I was a toddler, I’d go to lunch with my great-grandma Ethel a lot. We would hit up old-school New Jersey diners, where ketchup is always on the table, and you can order a world-class turkey club. But, as my family loves to remind me, my favorite thing wasn’t a menu item.

It was half-and-half.

Half-and-half is just what it sounds like: half cream, half milk. It’s creamy, but not too creamy, perfect for hot coffee or a toddler with no manners. While my mom and grandma scoffed, Ethel fed me little cup after little cup of half-and-half, and I loved her for it.

Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.

In the couple decades since, not much has changed. Though I don’t drink it straight anymore, I still adore half-and-half. I turn it into creamed greens, French toast, ice cream, and more.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Interesting! I need to try this version. I make almost the exact same thing except grate whatever hard Italian cheese I have in the fridge rather than use half and half. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts. ”
— rainbow G.
Comment

But, as soon as summer hits, my favorite way to use half-and-half is tomato sauce.

Most times of the year, tomato sauce means me opening a can of whole-peeled tomatoes and simmering them into oblivion. In the warmer months, though, it means just the opposite.

Here’s the gist: Add a bunch of cherry tomatoes to a scorching- hot pan and cook them until their skins start to char and split. Mix in a couple of anchovy fillets and garlic cloves, both minced, and some red pepper flakes; you won’t be able to pinpoint these flavors in the finished sauce, but they make everything better, trust me. Pour in a whole cup of half-and-half (yep!) and simmer until it's lush and rich.

I like this best with a short-shaped pasta (like penne, fusilli, or cavatappi), but really, it’ll work with whatever shape you like best. It’s the sort of easy weeknight meal that makes the perfect end to a long day—especially if you eat it outside in the sun.

What's your favorite way to use half-and-half? Tell us in the comments below!

It's no secret that half-and-half makes the best addition to a cup of coffee—be it a refreshing batch of cold brew or a hot French press—but we love cooking with it, too. We've partnered with Hood Cream to share our go-to summer recipes, like this creamy tomato pasta sauce from Emma Laperruque, a food writer, recipe developer, and Big Little Recipes whiz. This season-ready pasta is simple enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough for company, and it's made even easier and more delicious thanks to the addition of half-and-half.

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Amy Laperruque
    Amy Laperruque
  • Noreen Fish
    Noreen Fish
  • rainbow girl
    rainbow girl
Comment
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing stories about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now, she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter.

3 Comments

Amy L. June 28, 2019
I literally now can see you and Nana Ethel sitting at the Glenwood Diner and you sipping those teeny half & half cups and piling the empties up on the booth table while Nana ate her egg salad! Also being a cherry tomato devotee with so many growing in the garden this sounds amazing for the summer months!
 
Noreen F. June 24, 2019
I rarely buy half-and-half, but generally have both cream and whole milk in the refrigerator, so if I use a half-cup of each, it should be pretty close!
 
rainbow G. June 21, 2019
Interesting! I need to try this version. I make almost the exact same thing except grate whatever hard Italian cheese I have in the fridge rather than use half and half. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts.