Make Ahead

Pasta with Corn, Slow-Cooked Tomatoes, and Garlic Confit

July  1, 2014
8 Ratings
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Feel free to make the garlic confit and the slow-cooked tomatoes a few days ahead of time. They keep really well in the fridge. Another useful idea is to double the amounts of garlic and tomatoes so that you have extra for salad dressings or as toppings for just about anything. Pay close attention to the instructions for the garlic cloves. If you don't puncture a hole in them, they can explode while cooking in the hot oil: dramatic, messy, and potentially dangerous. The slow-cooked tomatoes, garlic confit, and corn mixture is awesome on pasta. But you can also spoon it on grilled bread or toss it with massaged kale. —Phyllis Grant

What You'll Need
  • 12 cloves garlic, unpeeled (for the garlic confit)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (any size, color, shape)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil (from the pot of garlic confit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 sprigs fresh herbs (any combination of thyme, rosemary, tarragon, sage)
  • 3 ears yellow or white corn
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons garlic oil (again, from the garlic confit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves
  1. With a paring knife, puncture a tiny hole in each clove of garlic. Place cloves in a small pot and cover with the olive oil. If the cloves aren't completely covered, add a splash more oil. Bring to a boil. Turn down as low as the flame will go. Simmer until a paring knife slides in easily (about 15 to 20 minutes). Take off the heat and cool in the pan. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 250° F. Prepare your sheet pan. I use a full-size cookie sheet covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. But If you have a nice and clean nonstick sheet pan, there's no need to cover it. Place the whole tomatoes on the pan and toss with garlic oil (just scoop it right out of your garlic confit pot), salt, and herbs. Place in the preheated oven. Check after 1 1/2 hours to make sure they're not burning. Take them out of the oven when they've shriveled up and darkened in color. They should still be moist inside. This takes 2 to 3 hours. Remove form the oven and smoosh them with the back of a wooden spoon (careful, they will squirt you!) and cook them for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Rub the herb sprigs between your hands, sprinkling the dried leaves down onto the tomatoes. Discard any tough sticks. Gently mix. Set aside.
  3. Shuck your corn. Get a large and wide bowl. Hold an ear of corn by the stem end with the opposite tip pressing down into the center of the bowl. Using a very sharp knife (serrated works well), saw the knife back and forth, working your way from the stem end down towards the bowl, cutting the corn kernels away from the cob as you go. Try to remove just the kernel layer (almost like a corn kernel rug). You don’t want to cut out tough chunks of the cob, so make sure the knife moves straight down without digging too deep. Rotate the ear and cut down again. Keep rotating and cutting off the kernels until the cob is bare. Turn the knife around and milk the corn by rubbing the dull side of the knife up and down the cob all the way around. Repeat all steps with the other ears of corn. Set aside.
  4. Place a large pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Add salt.
  5. While waiting for the water to boil, spoon 5 tablespoons garlic oil (from the cooled pot of garlic confit) into a medium-sized pot. Squeeze all garlic cloves out of their skins into the oil in the pot. With the back of a wooden spoon, break the cloves apart a bit into the olive oil. Warm for 30 seconds on medium heat. Add corn and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to low. Add tomatoes. Stir for one minute. Taste. It will probably need a bit more salt. Adjust as needed. Pour into a large serving bowl. Set aside.
  6. When the water is boiling, slide in your pasta. Cook until al dente. Add drained pasta to the tomato/corn/garlic mixture. Toss. Add a few more splashes of garlic oil. Taste. Add more salt or garlic oi as needed. Garnish with parsley leaves. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kate Atwater Butcher
    Kate Atwater Butcher
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  • AnnainSydney
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  • Regine
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

24 Reviews

Kate A. August 5, 2020
I added pancetta and pecorino and it was fabulous- I would use more oil next time, and pasta water. And I think seared scallops on top would be really good too.
mricque January 28, 2020
I followed the recipe to the letter and my pasta was very bland. I'm a little flummoxed because with all of the garlic and tomatoes it should have been wonderful.
Amy L. April 11, 2020
We had the same experience and were surprised by it too. We were sure it was going to be amazing but the flavors were just...barely there. I wonder what happened?
June August 12, 2016
I have hordes! of regular tomatoes coming in from my garden...but no cherrys. Can I swap quartered whole tomatoes in this recipe? Someone else asked this question but I didn't see a response?? I need recipes for tomatoes before they engulf me!!!
Mrsbonvivant August 12, 2016
Panzanella. This is a great recipe:
And stuffed tomatoes, ratatouille, scalloped tomatoes, oh and the Best Gazpacho (from NYT)
Mrsbonvivant July 25, 2016
Wow, this was really really good! Used my garden herbs, rosemary, thyme and marjoram. I find that crushed red pepper only adds heat, not flavor, so I used Italian red pepper cream. Finished with fresh basil. Have a bounty of cherry tomatoes coming and will be making this again and again. Thank you!
AnnainSydney July 19, 2016
This is fantastic. I used rocket and basil instead of parsley, which was delicious, and added some chilli with the tomatoes. This is definitely a keeper recipe - I'm going to be making this all summer.
i July 13, 2016
*Slow clap*
lilroseglow September 15, 2015
This is SO good. Just wonderful.
Regine August 17, 2015
Very tasty. Make sure you use all the oil though. Also, I think the tomato garlic medley might benefit next time from smoked sweet paprika, maybe 1/2 tsp.
Regine August 15, 2015
Cant wait to eat this. i prepared ahead of time the garlic confit and the tomatoes. I found myself increasing the oven temperature after 11/2 hours to 350 degrees. At 250 I did not see the progress i was expecting. More comments to come after i assemble everything together but like another food52er wrote, flavor of the garlic/tomotoe mixture somehow reminds me of bacon. Dont know why though.
sweet F. August 3, 2015
I just bought a basket of heirloom tomatoes. Could I somehow substitute them for the cherrie T's?
Harriet L. December 4, 2014
This is so delicious. I served it last night with a side of asparagus and it was delightful. The combination of garlic confit and cherry tomatoes is absolutely sublime! Love it!
littlethingamajigs September 12, 2014
The garlic confit was incredible! Thank you! I'm glad I made extra. I also threw in some salmon into the oven while the tomatoes were baking, and then broke it apart with a fork and mixed it into the pasta with the tomatoes for some protein. Deliciously garlicky.
karen July 31, 2014
Have you served this room temp I am looking for party sides to make ahead and it sound like this would be fine not hot !
Phyllis G. July 31, 2014
yes! it's great room temp. not good cold because oil congeals.
Robert July 16, 2014
Made it last night and very well received. I would add a little move olive oil and red pepper flakes (we like spice). I was hoping the tomatoes would offer a bit more intensity, but that might have been the quality of the ones I bought.
Brandi July 10, 2014
Have you tried freezing these tomatoes? I want/need/already am craving this in the middle of winter. It tastes just like summer to me. I added a little basil to the top. What a lip smacker.
Phyllis G. July 31, 2014
I often freeze the tomatoes. works great.
CLMLightchick July 5, 2014
I am a long-time user of Food52, but I've never commented before. But I was shocked that there was only one comment on this recipe, so here I am. This recipe is SO GOOD! As written, no changes (although I might like a little crushed red pepper next time). I describe myself as "vaguely vegan" and my husband complies because you guys come up with great recipes like this! Honestly, between the garlic, the oil, and the tomatoes, somehow there is a vague sense of bacon. Really. (yum!) Also, if you do the confit a couple days ahead on a back burner while you cook something else, and the tomatoes a day ahead whole you're doing whatever (they don't need babysitting), the actual day-of assembly is 10 minutes. Perfect.
Phyllis G. July 7, 2014
LOVE the crushed pepper idea. I'm very deep in the recipe-testing process for my book so it's so wonderful to hear when one of my recipes works. I'm very grateful for the feedback. And I often prepare this exactly as you described. My fridge is full of all kinds of components like these. Nice when you can just whip something up in 10 minutes. P.S. "vaguely vegan" made me laugh.
Stacie T. August 12, 2014
Vaguely Vegan is a great way to put it...I can definitely relate. Thanks for your insight on the recipe!
Merrill S. July 3, 2014
We just had this in the office for lunch -- so incredible. Will be having it again this weekend for sure!
Phyllis G. July 7, 2014
Merrill, it makes me so happy to think about you all eating this for lunch at the Food52 offices. Hope to meet you one of these days. I keep promising Kenzi that I'm heading to NYC. Soon. Soon. I promise. xoxo