Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for the FSK Café

Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese

Asha, of Fork-Spoon-Knife, one of my fabulous foodie/Twitter friends, is hosting a bi-monthly food event – Same Notes, Many Highs. The idea is to use the same ingredient(s) to create at least two dishes which present them in completely different lights. Of course, the ingredient(s) must be the star(s) of the dishes.

The theme for the inauguratory January event is – Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil – some of my favorite ingredients!

When Kathleen, at Gonna Want Seconds, posted Ina Garten’s Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad recipe I bookmarked it and I’m so glad I did because roasting the plum tomatoes turns them from blah winter tomatoes into luscious, can’t-get-enough-of-them tomatoes.

I made Pasta Caprese with garden fresh summer tomatoes last year and my family loved it. For this challenge, I decided to try Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese. I knew it would be fabulous with these roasted tomatoes and it does take the recipe to a whole new level. It adds so much extra flavor, you just can’t keep from saying yum!

RoastedTomatoes

The second recipe I made using the luscious roasted tomatoes was Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I posted the recipe at the end of this post, but I didn’t really use any special technique. Just fabulous bread and flavorful ingredients. It was the most scrumptious grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had!

RoastedTomatoGrilledCheeseSandwich

Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for the FSK Café

Ingredients:

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded without cores removed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil-plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic-minced
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper

Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese

  • Roasted Plum Tomatoes (see recipe above)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (see note above)
  • 1 small garlic clove — minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I didn’t have fresh and used freeze dried)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 12 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese — cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note)
  • 1 lbs penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 8 slices La Brea whole grain bread (or your favorite sandwich bread)
  • 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 8 roasted tomato halves
  • Several basil leaves
  • butter

Directions:

Roasted Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Arrange tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut side up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle with garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

RoastedTomatoPastaSauce

Roasted Tomato Pasta Caprese

Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt,and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gentlytoss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45minutes.

While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.

Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.

Note: This dish will be very warm, not hot. Don’t skip the step of freezing the mozzarella, as freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta. If handmade buffalo- or cows-milk mozzarella is available (its commonly found in gourmet and cheese shops packed in water), we highly recommend using it, but skip the step of freezing and add it to the tomatoes while marinating. Additional lemon juice or up to 1 teaspoon sugar can be added at the end to taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.

RoastedTomatoCaprese

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Layer ingredients on non buttered side of bread and top with another slice of bread, buttered side up. Grill sandwich over medium high heat until golden brown and cheese is melting.