Here's another great recipe from one of my favorite Chef's, Lidia Bastianich. This one comes from her newest cookbook, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy and can be found here on her website. I was lucky enough to catch her making this one on tv and I made it the next day. It seems like the temperature and cooking time needed to be a little higher and longer than the recipe states. I wanted my tomatoes to have a nice brown color on the breadcrumbs. It may just have been my oven but after about 15-20 minutes I raised the temperature to 400 and baked until they were golden. Lidia suggests topping the pasta with ricotta salata or ricotta. I think the ricotta salata would be great but I didn't have any. The dish was still fantastic and I think a firm cheese like the ricotta salata would be even better.
Pasta with Baked Cherry Tomatoes
3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot
¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 pound spaghetti, gemelli, or penne
10 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
½ cup pecorino, freshly grated, plus more for passing
4 ounces ricotta, or ricotta salata
Arrange a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees.
Toss the cherry-tomato halves in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle over tomatoes the bread crumbs, salt, and peperoncino; toss well to coat the tomatoes evenly. Pour the tomatoes onto the parchment-lined sheet, and spread them apart in a single layer. Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and lightly caramelized (but not dried out), about 25 minutes in all.
Meanwhile, fill the large pot with salted water, and heat to a rolling boil. When the tomatoes are nearly done, drop the pasta into the pot, stir, and return the water to a boil.
As soon as the pasta is cooking, pour the remaining olive oil into the big skillet, set it over medium- high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic. Cook for a minute or two, until it is sizzling and lightly colored, then ladle in about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring up the garlic. Let half the water evaporate, then lower the heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and keep the sauce barely simmering.
As soon as the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven.
When the pasta is al dente, lift it from the water, drain for a moment, and drop it into the skillet, still over low heat. Toss pasta quickly with the garlic-and- parsley sauce in the pan, then slide the baked tomatoes on top of the pasta. Scatter the basil shreds all over, and toss everything together well, until the pasta is evenly dressed and the tomatoes are distributed throughout. Turn off the heat, sprinkle on the grated cheese, and toss once more.
Mound the pasta in a warmed serving bowl. Shred the ricotta all over the top of the pasta, and serve immediately.