Chunky Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Recipe provided by Sheri Castle

For little effort, this recipe rewards you richly. Although any variety or combination of tiny tomatoes will work, I highly recommend using at least some Sungolds because the roasting concentrates and intensifies their flavor. You can use any pasta shape you wish, but it needs to be short and sturdy; the sauce is too chunky to cling to long, thin noodles.

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 pounds (3 to 4 dry pints) very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved if larger than a marble
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Pour about one-third of the oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place the tomatoes in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over it all. Bake the tomatoes until they are cooked through and starting to brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until cooked al dente. (See the recommended time on the package.) Time the pasta so that it finishes cooking about the time the tomatoes are ready to come out of the oven.

Drain the pasta and pour it into the baking dish of tomatoes.

Gently stir in the walnuts, zest, juice, basil, parsley, and cheese. Add a little more oil if the mixture seems dry. Everything should glisten, but the oil shouldn’t pond up in the bowl.

Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes and serve immediately