Life’s a Feast: Roasted cherry tomato tagliatelle with rocket pesto

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Fellow tomato lovers! While we are still in a tomato thrall, and they are affordable enough to buy in bulk, I thought it essential to create a recipe utilising these colourful mouthfuls of sweet deliciousness. Right now, tomatoes are on the menu most nights in my household. They are a simple way to add nutrients to a meal. My favourite (and my kids’) is the plain and unadulterated version of slicing and sprinkling with fresh basil, sea-salt and olive oil. The recipe below includes anchovies in a supporting role. Don’t be scared off by these salty delights. They add more of an umami flavour as opposed to straight fishy saltiness. In fact, most people won’t even know they are there. These two ingredients pair perfectly together – creating mouth-watering dish that will impress the family and hopefully make you think twice about buying the pre-made (high in sugar) jarred tomato pasta sauces. Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
SERVES: 4 PEOPLE

Ingredients

2 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes (can use more)
4-6 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
300g dried tagliatelle
Shaved parmesan, to serve

Rocket pesto

1/2 cup pine nuts (approx 70g)
1 cup firmly-packed baby rocket
1/3 cup loosely-packed, coarsely-chopped basil
1 garlic clove, crushed
180ml olive oil
1/2 cup (about 40g) finely-grated parmesan
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the tomatoes in roasting pan on baking paper. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Roast for 10 minutes or until slightly browned and tender. Remove from oven.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, following the directions on the packet, until al dente. Drain and drizzle with olive oil and tip back into the pot.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, make the rocket pesto. Place pine nuts in a small non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until toasted. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  4. Using a food processor, blend pinenuts, rocket, basil and garlic, and process until finely-chopped. With the motor running, gradually add oil in a steady stream until combined. Add parmesan and process until combined. Taste and season with salt.
  5. Next, take a large pan. Add the two tablespoons of olive oil, the cloves of chopped garlic and anchovies. Cook, constantly stirring for 3-4 mins until the anchovies have melted into the oil and garlic (smash the anchovies with a wooden spoon while cooking).
  6. Add tomatoes and gently combine. Taste and add salt and pepper. I sometimes add a little chilli here too.
  7. Pour tomato mix over spaghetti and gently combine, trying not to burst too many tomatoes.
  8. Divide pasta evenly across four bowls. Spoon a dollop of pesto on top of the spaghetti, sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.

NB: An alternative dish is to combine all the pesto through the spaghetti and just spoon some of the tomatoes on top.