Pasta Ponza

Italian, Main Courses, Meatless, Pasta / Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I’m feeling a little guilty about all the pasta recipes, but I can explain.

Pasta is quick. And delicious. And it goes with everything.

And when you’re sneezing so loudly that it’s waking up your husband and setting off car alarms, pasta requires exactly the amount of effort you want to put into a home-cooked meal: minimal.

If you’ve ever picked up a container of heirloom cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe’s–gorgeous tomatoes that are yellow and pear-shaped and bright green and the faintest peach–and then you realized that you had absolutely no idea what to do with them, this recipe for Pasta Ponza is for you.

The sauce gets most of its flavor from combining several varieties of tomatoes. The recipe suggests half red cherry and half yellow cherry tomatoes, but you could use half red cherry and half heirloom cherry tomatoes or any other combination you’d like.

You make the sauce by placing the tomatoes and capers in a baking dish, drizzling them with olive oil, sprinkling them with seasoned bread crumbs and roasting the mixture in the oven for about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, the bread crumbs will be golden-brown and crunchy, and the tomatoes will be slightly broken down, juicy and very intense.

The salty bite of the Pecorino-Romano really brings out the sweetness of the red cherry tomatoes, which in turn heightens the contrast between the sweet red cherries and the variety of flavors found in the heirloom tomatoes, from mild to tangy to very sweet. Every bite is a different experience.

But if you need to make this pasta more appealing to a meat-loving loved one, feel free to add chunks of grilled chicken, sliced pepperoni or crumbled bacon.

Maximum results with minimal effort. If only the magic of pasta worked at the gym.

Pasta Ponza

From Giada De Laurentiis’ “Giada at Home”

Makes 8 servings
  • Unsalted butter for greasing
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned dried bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, capers, olive oil, salt and pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. If needed, thin out the sauce with a little pasta water and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

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6 thoughts on “Pasta Ponza

  1. Oh, yeah, this has my name all over it…you cannot ever publish too many recipes…swimmer boy eats pasta almost every single day, I kid you not. Pasta appears almost every single day in some form or another at one meal or another. Nope, never too many. Keep that in mind please. Thank you. This looks absolutely delicious.

  2. My girlfriend made this about two weeks ago (the recipe was in Cosmo, apparently) and it was delicious.

  3. I recently watched the episode of Giada's show with this recipe and added it to my to do list. I'll be making this next week!

  4. Duuuuuuuuuuuuude, that looks fabulous. I will definitely have to make this over the weekend.

    BTW: For some reason you have "ghost" entries… like there was the chocolate cake for a long time, then the broccoli and I just happened to be here looking for a recipe when I saw this… it's happened several times before like there's some kind of blast or something.

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