Make Ahead

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Pecorino Cheese

August 17, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is possibly one of the recipes with the highest return on investment that I know of. It takes literally 5 minutes of active time, and the results always amaze people who taste it for the first time.

If you don't like pecorino cheese, you may replace it with parmigiano, but it won't be as tasty. - tuscanfoodie —tuscanfoodie

Test Kitchen Notes

Yum! This pasta is a great example of using basic ingredients in clever ways to make an excellent dish. The tomatoes shine in this dish, breaking down just enough to release their juices and become warm bursts of deliciousness mixed throughout the pasta. I found a chile de arbol quite spicy, but feel free to use whatever chile you'd like. There is a nice amount of cheese in here to give it a little richness. The breadcrumbs make the sauce very thick and take the dish to the next level. - biffbourgeois —Stephanie Bourgeois

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (red)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I prefer riesling)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (or more, if the sauce is too liquid)
  • 3 tablespoons pecorino cheese, grated
  • pecorino cheese to sprinkle on the plated pasta
  • 10-12 ounces spaghetti (280-340grams, depending on how hungry you all are...)
  • 1 tablespoon salt, for the boiling water
  • 1 peperoncino or chile de arbol, chopped finely
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a skillet, heat up the oil on medium fire. When hot, add the chile de arbol (or the peperoncino, if you have it), stir and let it cook for one minute. Consider that the chile de arbol is hotter than peperoncino...
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves, and add them to the skillet. The oil will sputter, so be careful. Add salt and pepper, stir, let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the white wine. Personally, I prefer Riesling, because I find its sweet flavor perfectly complements the cherry tomatoes. But any white wine will do the trick. Stir, and let it cook until the alcohol evaporates, 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and let it cook for 20 minutes. Stir once in a while. In the meantime, boil the water to cook your spaghetti, adding the salt when the water has started to boil.
  5. Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, remove the skillet with the sauce from the fire. The sauce will be very liquid, because the tomatoes will have released a lot of water. Add the pecorino cheese and the bread crumbs. Stir. The sauce will thicken almost immediately. If you like your sauce even thicker, add more breadcrumbs and/or continue to cook uncovered for a few minutes, so that the liquid can evaporate. DO NOT remove the sauce from the skillet.
  7. When the pasta is ready, drain it, then add it to the skillet with the sauce. Turn on the fire on medium high, and mix and cook for 1 minute. You may use two forks or a tong to mix the spaghetti with the sauce.
  8. Plate, add some more pecorino cheese on top of the plated pasta, and enjoy.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • misslofox
  • ChefJune
  • tuscanfoodie
  • Quinciferous

6 Reviews

misslofox June 4, 2012
I've had this recipe saved for months and finally made it tonight. Oh my, it was better than I thought it could be given its simplicity! The sauce created from the tomatoes, wine, cheese and bread crumbs was absolutely perfect and just the right amount for the pasta. I think my favorite, though, was the pepper - I was thinking about omitting but I'm so glad I didn't because it was truly necessary to give this dish a kick. This one is a keeper - thank you! :)
tuscanfoodie June 4, 2012
Hi Misslofox, I am happy you liked it. This is indeed my favorite recipe in terms of effort/flavor ratio. I do it regularly, and everybody who tries it for the first time is always surprised that something so simple could taste so good. And yes, the pepper is absolutely key.
Quinciferous September 9, 2011
Thank you for this wonderful recipe -- it came together quickly and perfectly, and helped us use up a bountiful harvest of my in-laws' cherry and grape tomatoes. I would not change a thing!
tuscanfoodie September 9, 2011
Quinciferous, I am happy to hear it worked out for you and that you liked it!
ChefJune September 2, 2011

Just a note to you: the alcohol doesn't evaporate, the liquid does. There is always some residue of alcohol left any time you cook with alcohol.

This is a GREAT dish, in any case! ;)
tuscanfoodie September 3, 2011
ChefJune, thank you for your comment. you are right: evaporation is not the right English term...glad you liked the dish though!