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swirl and savor

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Beth Ribblett

With tomato season in full swing right now, I just can't get enough.  I eat them daily; sliced raw, chunked in salads, chopped on bruschetta, cooked into sauces and one of my favorite ways, roasted.  It is such a simple but flavorful way to prepare tomatoes and once roasted you can refrigerate them for about a week and use them as toppings on pizza, crostini, sandwiches, pasta, really to anything you would normally use the fresh ones for.  And the great thing about this pasta salad that I served cold yesterday, we can warm up the leftovers for dinner tonight with a little parmigiano cheese thrown on top.

Roasting tomatoes is really simple and the key to them not drying and shriveling up is using a good amount of olive oil. Once prepped you slide them in the oven and wait for the wonderful aromas of roasting herbs and garlic to fill up your house for the next two hours!  The end result in amazing and I suggest you make extra to keep in the frig to top off your favorite savory foods.

50-60 ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 C. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 T. fresh rosemary chopped fine
2 T. fresh oregano
2 T. fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
1 t. pepperoncini (optional)
1 lb. dried pasta - rigatoni, bow-tie or penne work great
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
10-12 fresh basil leaves

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.  Cut your tomatoes in half and line them up on the baking sheet.  Drizzle entire pan with olive oil, be sure that each tomato gets doused. Sprinkle the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and pepperoncini over the tomatoes, put in the oven and roast, turning the tomatoes over once after about an hour.

After two hours remove your pan and put a big pot of water on to boil.  Cook your pasta according to instructions and drain when finished.  Let the pasta cool, mixing in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. 

In the meantime, shred your mozzarella by simply pulling it apart by hand and finely chop the basil.  Once the pasta and tomatoes have cooled, add it all together with your remaining ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.  Simple and really good!