Winters in Ohio drag on. And on. By this time of year, I’m really missing my garden. And especially the tomatoes from my garden. Beautiful heirloom varieties with fun names like Hillbilly, Husky Cherry, and Mr. Stripey. This little reminder from last summer really makes me tomato hungry.
My garden right now is covered in at least a foot of snow. I’ll have to wait for the heirloom tomatoes of next summer, but I can get my tomato fix in the meantime.
This is my take on a winter caprese salad. I take those sad little store-bought cherry tomatoes and roast them until the burst, concentrating their flavors into a bit of winter tomato heaven.
Combined with the traditional caprese flavors: fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. If you have some good balsamic, this is your chance to let it shine. My husband got me a fabulous bottle of this stuff for our last anniversary when I’d casually mentioned that I was almost out and could use a decent bottle. He knows me well.
Here, I’m serving this with orzo for a caprese pasta, but it would be equally yummy spread over slices of baguette or flatbread. I also enjoy this pasta with the addition of mixed greens.
This is what I want to eat right now, even while it’s snowing outside.
Burst Tomato Caprese Pasta
cherry or grape tomatoes
fresh mozzarella (I used ciligene, but any size would work cut into bit sized pieces.)
small pasta (I used orzo, but ditalini or elbows would be perfect as well.)
coarse kosher salt (I am completely devoted to Morton’s brand. It’s the perfect size.)
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place tomatoes on foil covered baking sheet. (The foil just means that I don’t have to scrub the pan afterwards!) Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until tomatoes have burst, about 12 minutes.
Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain. Place in serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Top with mozzarella, burst tomatoes, and basil. Sprinkle on salt and a few grinds of pepper. Drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar to finish.