Pasta con pomodori gratinati

Pasta with Tomatoes Au Gratin

Summer brings the gift of fruits: fruits with sparkling colors and strong authentic flavors. Zucchini finally tastes like zucchini, and strawberries taste like strawberries! There can be no better time than Summer to put aside the canned and frozen products and honor the wonders offered by the sun and the earth.

You can’t miss the opportunity to prepare and eat a pasta made with fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes, like the famous San Marzano (if you can’t find them, you can substitute them with ripe cherry tomatoes). This is meant to be a recipe that uses fresh products for the most traditional preparation, but with a different touch that makes it summer-like and special.

Ingredients For 4 people:

380 grams (12 oz) short pasta like penne or fusilli, or long pasta like fettuccini or spaghetti

800 grams-1 kg (1.7 - 2.2 lbs) fresh, ripe tomatoes (San Marzano or Cherry)

2 Tbsp capers

3+ heaping Tbsp, grated pecorino romano

3+ heaping Tbsp, grated parmesan

Lots of basil, chopped

Garlic (optional)

3 Tbsp bread crumbs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plenty)

Salt and Pepper to taste


Preheat an oven to 180C /350 F (Grease the bottom of a large baking dish with plenty of olive oil, and place the chopped tomatoes on it vertically, lengthwise in two parts (or 3, if the tomatoes are big). If you’d like to use garlic, put 1-2 cloves cut in half among the tomatoes. 

Salt and pepper as you’d like. Add two heaping tablespoons (or more/less to taste) and the chopped basil. Sprinkle the tomatoes with grated cheese, and lastly, the breadcrumbs. Drizzle plenty of olive oil over the top and bake in the preheated oven for 30 mins, using the grill for the last 10 minutes to brown the tomatoes. While the tomatoes are in the oven, make the pasta al dente.

When the tomatoes are ready, mash them with a fork and put the cooked pasta directly into the pan, mixing well. If needed, add more extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito and happy summer!