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Author Notes: Roasting cherry tomatoes concentrates their bright flavors – together with salty capers, bold notes are struck against the earthy backdrop of whole grain. Toasted bread crumbs dress up this weeknight pasta with a sophisticated and satisfying crunch. This is a fun meal to make throughout tomato season! —Community Grains
- 10 ounces Whole wheat penne or similar, like Community Grains Torchiette
- 1 pint cherry or teardrop tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat if you have them), toasted
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- grated pecorino for garnishing
- Heat oven to 400ºF. In a bowl, toss halved cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast until the tomatoes shrivel and release juices, about 15-20 minutes (the timing depends on the size of the tomatoes).
- As the oven heats up, bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil over high heat. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook to al dente, approximately 5-6 minutes.
- While the tomatoes and pasta are cooking, you will make the quick garlic chili oil. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a small sauté pan over medium heat. When the olive oil is warm, add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Immediately grab the handle of the pan and tip it slightly so that all of the oil and garlic pools to one side. Hold it there for 1-2 minutes, giving the garlic a light sizzle in the heated olive oil. Remove from heat when the garlic turns a light golden hue, but before it begins to brown.
- Remove pasta from heat and drain. While still warm, toss with the garlic, chili, olive oil, and olives. Remove roasted tomatoes from oven and toss with pasta, including any juices from the pan.
- Finally, toss the bread crumbs with thyme (optional) and salt, and toast according to your preference. You may add them to any leftover olive oil in the small saute pan on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn. Alternatively, you may toss the breadcrumbs mixture with a half tablespoon of olive oil and crisp up in an oven on 350ºF for 5-7 minutes.
- Scoop the pasta into bowls, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top. Garnish with more fresh thyme and grated pecorino before serving. Enjoy!
- Tip: If you want faster roasted tomatoes, heat to 450ºF and roast for 8-10 minutes. If you’ve really got some time, roast twice as many halved cherry tomatoes low and slow at 225ºF for about 2 hours. Keep in a jar covered in olive oil for weeks.