Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Kalamata Olive with Pasta

                  I like to have things on hand that I can throw together for a quick dinner. Last night, I was busy baking for my friend’s art show and I needed to have something ready for the family to eat before I took off. Roasted tomatoes to the rescue! Sometimes when Roma tomatoes are looking good and on sale, I like to buy a bag and roast them up for sauces and soups. You could also roast cherry tomatoes for this, or a meatier variety. The seeds and gel like pulp are not desired here so I usually use Roma because it has less of those. The flavors of roasted tomatoes are concentrated and intensified by the caramelization of roasting. It is very easy to eat more tomatoes in this form, which is a very good thing.
           Maybe a word here on Caramelization. Caramelizing things like vegetables involves a browning of sugars which creates a sweeter, more intense flavor. When onions are caramelized they are cooked at a low heat to soften and then a slightly higher heat to brown, resulting in a nice golden color and incredible sweet onion flavor. Similarly, the tomatoes here are roasted then allowed to brown a bit around the edges to increase the natural sweetness and mellow the acidic bite. Some of the liquid is roasted away, giving tomatoes a slightly chewier texture and deeper flavor. You are not looking for all over brown or black as this would not look appealing or taste as good. The roasted tomatoes here are only lightly caramelized.

        Roasted tomatoes can be blended into a marinara sauce or pureed into a soup. If I am planning on this I often pre skin tomatoes by dipping in boiling water for a minute then shocking in ice water. Skinning is not necessary but it gives smooth sauces and soups a creamier, more consistent texture.  Roasted tomatoes are great chopped up for bruschetta. Pieces of tomato can top pizza or be mixed into pasta. They can be served  over fish or chicken or mixed into other vegetable dishes.  These tomatoes are so good you could just eat them as a side dish!  No premade, store bought mixes needed with these babies around! Once a bit more of the snow melts from last’s nights storm I am off to get more Roma tomatoes.

                For last night’s meal, I looked in the pantry and found a jar of Kalamata olives. I wanted to keep this simple without too many ingredients. The tomatoes had been roasted with onions and garlic so that added some extra layers of flavor. I also had some goat cheese and parmesan in the fridge so that went into the mix, too. Olives add a nice dimension of flavor and the goat cheese and parm adds a tart and salty creaminess.  We all really loved the outcome. My husband said, “Make sure you write this one down.” Posting here takes care of that and I can share it with all of you!

All in all, a very tasty dish which can be ready in flash if you keep some roasted tomatoes on hand in the fridge or freezer and some olives and pasta in the pantry. In a pinch, if you are ever snowed in  and want to have good staples to use in your panty,  you could use quality, fire roasted canned tomatoes.   

Okay, here is the recipe.
Roasted Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives with Pasta

10 -12 Roma tomatoes

1 onion

2 garlic cloves, crushed,

3-4  TBSP  Olive oil

1 + TBSP balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Italian herbs

Pinch of red pepper flakes,  garlic powder

1 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

Pasta, mini shells, elbow, bow tie or penne to serve 4-6 (about a half pound or half box)

6-8 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted

1-2 TBSP olive oil

3-4 TBSP goat cheese  *see substitutes

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Extra goat cheese and parmesan for garnish

First roast  the tomatoes If you would like, put foil over large rectangular baking sheet with a rim.  Then place 1 TBSP olive oil on pan. Wash and cut tomatoes in fourths lengthwise then cut each fourth in half. (If you prefer, you could just cut the tomatoes in half.)  Try to remove as many seeds as possible using water and fingers.

Preheat oven to 350.  Place in rectangular baking pan and drizzle with 2-3 TBSP olive oil and about a TBSP balsamic vinegar. Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes at 350.

 Remove from oven and turn pieces over, add sliced onion and crushed garlic. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs, garlic powder and sugar. (You could add everything all at once, but onions will brown faster than tomatoes.)

Roast another 20 minutes or so minutes till tomatoes are soft. Times for this vary! Raise temperature to 400 and roast until there is some light caramelization  (browning), without over browning, about 10 minutes ( see my notes above.) Turn pieces often and cook until  browned on some edges. You are not looking for blackened tomatoes or over all brown, just a bit here and there to add flavor.

These may be made ahead of time and refrigerated. I like to double this part of the recipe and put half away in the freezer for future use.

Boil a big pot of salted water for pasta. You can use any shaped pasta, looking for something around the same size as the tomato pieces- shells, elbow, bowtie, penne  or rotini may be good.  Cook pasta al dente, drain and reserve. Into same pot, add another TBSP or two of olive oil and heat tomatoes and olives for a couple minutes.
Add pasta back along with 3-4 TBSP goat cheese and ¼ cup parmesan. (*No Goat cheese? No problem! You may substitute feta or just use parmesan.Or perhaps add a bit of cream cheese) Stir and heat through. Season if needed.  Plate and garnish with a bit of extra parmesan  and goat cheese.
Recipe By Dinner with Denise

Happy Autumn ???


  1. Oooh, this looks perfectly delicious! I love roasted tomatoes, but I never get around to doing it. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  2. I love roasted tomatoes. Great recipe and photos.

  3. Sounds like a delicious dinner, Denise! I love roasted and caramelized veggies. I also love throwing dinners together out of whatever I have on hand!

  4. Great recipe! Lol, that autumn picture is funny!

  5. What a great idea to roast tomatoes and have them on hand for a quick dinner. This looks like a great pasta dish on a snowy night!

  6. Thanks everyone, happy you like it!! I appreciate comments so very much.

  7. Delicious! I love the little birdy pic at the end! Autumn went to winter very fast!!

  8. You have so much snow!!! All those tomatoes are going to help keep colds away! Looks wonderful!

  9. Thanks. Yes we did get alot of snow but in a day or two it almost all melts away. Tuesday it snowed again here but yesterday and today were bright sunny days and it will warm up again soon. We have over 300 days of blue skies and sunshine here in Northern Colorado and snow does not last long. Alas, my garden is officially finished for the year.

  10. Intense flavours, I can almost taste them. Try roasting your tomatoes cut in half, with a bit of salt and olive oil for 3 hours at 100 deg C (210 deg F). You'll never turn back, I promise!

  11. Those roasted tomatoes look great!

  12. Check out that snow! Brrrrr!

    I'm sure those tomatoes helped warm you right up. My husband would go nuts for this dish :) Buzzed!

  13. Keeping things simple is a great idea and it looks like you came up with a delicious combination! I have not roasted my own tomatoes yet but one day when I can actually produce red ones (or when they are in season) I need to do this and maybe can some for the colder months. I love the idea of keeing things on hand for a quick yummy dinner.

  14. My kids and I are crazy about tomatoes and I love the idea of putting the roasted tomatoes in pasta! Not sure if kids would eat olives but I can just add them on mine. Looks yummy Denise!

  15. This looks delicious :) Will try it soon~~