Burst Tomato Pasta

Sometimes I feel like I'm on an episode of Chopped - or at least I like to pretend I am. Especially when we're staring Thursday night in the face (night before our weekly grocery run on Friday), and we're one meal short for the week. I seriously open my fridge and open our pantry, and stare blankly onto the barren cupboards. The only thing I can think of is what on EARTH are we going to make for dinner tonight?

I was going to have french toast with fruit, but we ended up eating all our bread with some soup we had earlier that week. We had some bottom-of-the-box pasta shells leftover (whole grain & white), a bunch of cherry tomatoes, a little garlic, and a little basil. I thought we were doomed, and would have to throw in the towel by breaking our budget with going out to eat, but a memory of something actually saved us...

I adore watching The Next Food Network Star every summer. This past season, a wonderful chef Nikki Dinki (who I still wish would have won, as much as I love Damaris) made a pasta dish called Burst Tomato Pasta in one particular episode. I loved the way she described and used her ingredients. So naturally, I remembered that lovely dish of hers, and immediately went to work with the few ingredients we had left in our kitchen to use.

She's right: the best part of this dish is when the tomatoes burst in the pool of simmering garlic and olive oil. It immediately creates such a beautiful sauce! It's just gorgeous, and tasted just as well. I'm so grateful for moments like this - when we have to stretch our minds around our pantry, and create something based on what we can remember. Thankfully, watching an offensive amount of Food Network improves that recipe spectrum for me, and I was able to still get something beautiful on the table for dinner when I thought we were in a pinch.

p.s. You lovely folks following me on Instagram yet? :) 

Burst Tomato Pasta
makes 2-4 servings

1/4 C EVOO
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 C whole cherry tomatoes
2-3 t kosher salt (by taste, really)
1 t basalmic vinegar
3-4 T chopped basil
1 lb cooked pasta of your choice
*sprinkle of cheese (we had a little feta in the fridge)

1. In oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until very fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, and add cherry tomatoes.
2. Stir and let cook for about 15 minutes on medium with a lid over the pan. You'll begin to hear the tomatoes popping/bursting. Remove the lid, and smash the tomatoes into a sauce. Add vinegar, salt, basil, and let cook for about 3 minutes. Taste, add more salt if needed.
3. Toss with your favorite cooked pasta (we had whole grain and white shells lying around, so I just used them right up).

Recipe adapted from: Nikki Dinki Cooking


  1. I find myself doing the same thing during busy weeks where a trip to the grocery still hasn't happened! This is a great last minute meal!

    1. Seriously - it happens way too often! Thank heavens we had some leftover cherry tomatoes this time!

  2. I, too, watched Food Network Star this season and wish Nikki had won! She's such a talent both in the kitchen and onscreen. Her (and your) pasta looks delicious!

    1. I was devastated when she was cut - she definitely had the best way with the camera and making things happen no matter what happened around her. Unfortunately, that whole "rice pilaf" thing tipped the judges too far over the edge. The other contestants were kept on the show for far worse. But at least her blog is still alive and well, and we can still follow along with her adventures in the kitchen.

  3. Hey! My husband and I just tried this and it was a MAJOR hit! Seriously....the husband was speechless and wants me to make it every week. We just had a question: we thought that three tablespoons of salt was a lot.....I just added one and we were fine. Is it supposed to be three teaspoons? We also used small tomatoes instead of cherry because that's what was on hand, so that might have contributed to the salty taste as well :) We love your blog so much!

    1. That's amazing! I'm SO happy you tried the recipe and loved it! Thanks for the catch, it is 3t, not 3T - thank you! Don't you just love it when you find an easy recipe, it tasted like it was more difficult to make, and the hubby wants more and more? It makes it easier to throw it on the menu again and again! Thanks for your comment - made my day!

  4. great simple recipe! proves that you can never use too much garlic in a recipe! :)


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