I love any easy, full-flavored pasta dish that I can prepare quickly when needed, and this dish is exactly that. I make this dish year-round, using plump, ripe Roma tomatoes during the summer and smaller cherry tomatoes during the colder months when local tomatoes are not available. One variety of tomatoes that are available year-round that work well in this dish are Campari tomatoes. Try and choose the ripest tomatoes you can for the best results. Don’t despair, though, because even if your tomatoes are not perfect, by roasting them, the heat caramelizes the natural sugars within creating a sweeter flavor. I used Roma, or plum tomatoes from my garden in the photos below, but I have used large cherry tomatoes as well with good results.
I prefer thicker pasta like spaghetti or bucatini for this dish, but if you prefer capellini, it works well also. You need to use fresh basil for best results, and Panko breadcrumbs or coarse homemade breadcrumbs work well. Skip the finely ground variety of breadcrumbs as you need the texture of coarser crumbs for this dish.
Deborah Mele 2021
- 2 1/2 Pounds Halved Plum or Whole Large Cherry Tomatoes (See Notes Above)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Anchovy
- 3/4 Cup Panko Crumbs (Or Coarse Homemade Breadcrumbs)
- 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
- Salt & Pepper
- 3/4 Pound Dried Spaghetti (See Notes Above)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Baby Spinach
- Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese To Serve
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the tomatoes on top.
- Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, then scatter the garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves.
- Roast the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, turning over halfway until the tomatoes have softened and are starting to brown.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside until needed.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the olive oil until sizzling, then add the anchovy.
- Break the anchovy up with a fork, then add the breadcrumbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often until lightly browned.
- Set aside breadcrumbs.
- Drain pasta, reserving a cup of the hot pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot.
- Drizzle about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over the pasta and toss to coat.
- Add the tomatoes and any juice they have released, and the baby spinach.
- Over high heat drizzle on some pasta water and toss the pasta to mix and wilt the spinach.
- Serve the pasta immediately in individual bowls, topped with some toasted breadcrumbs.
- Offer grated cheese at the table.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 593Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 474mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 7gSugar: 31gProtein: 13g