Sweet and spicy roasted cherry tomato sauce and blackened baby portobello mushrooms are served over a bed of capellini in this cozy and flavor-packed end of summer meal.
I guess I haven’t really said a whole lot about my backyard vegetable garden this year. Then again, it hasn’t really done a lot this year. I know I’m not the best at this whole gardening thing and all, but usually by September things have turned jungle and I’m drowning in cucumbers and tomatoes. This year, I got a mere three bitter cucumbers and I think I can count on my hand the number of red cherry tomatoes that have fully ripened. I tend not to have high expectations of myself when it comes to gardening, but most years I at least get plenty of cherry tomatoes for my salads.
So I’ve been a frequent buyer at the farmer’s market this year, which isn’t totally a bad thing. Those guys have way more interesting vegetables for sale than I’d ever attempt to grow. The cucumbers are never bitter. Oh, and the cherry tomatoes are cheap, and sweet!
Now that things have cooled off just a bit, and veggies (home grown or not) are a-plenty, I’ve got the perfect easy September meal. The sauce for this one cooks up in the oven, and the mushrooms roast at the same time. The only thing you need the stove for is boiling up some pasta. This couldn’t be easier!
I loved this meal for reasons I never even expected. The cherry tomato sauce was all kinds of delicious. I was going for spicy, which I got, but roasting cherry tomatoes brings out their sweetness. I felt like I was taking a bit of a chance on the mushrooms. I don’t usually roast my mushrooms, and while I love blacking seasoning, this was a totally new use for it in my kitchen. I loved the result. They were spicy, just the right level of tender, and added the perfect savory flavors and hearty bite to contrast the tomatoes and pasta.
Capellini with Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce & Blackened Mushrooms
For the Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Blackened Mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt to taste
For Finishing and Serving
- 8 ounces dried cappellini pasta
- sliced fresh basil leaves, optional
Make the Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce
- Preheat oven to 425°. Place cherry tomatoes into a roasting pan or oven-safe skillet. Add oil, vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat tomatoes. Place in oven and bake until most the tomatoes have burst and their juices are bubbling, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Blackened Mushrooms
- While the tomatoes roast, stir paprika, thyme, black pepper and cayenne pepper together in a small cup or bowl. Place mushrooms into a roasting pan or oven-safe skillet. Add oil, garlic and spice mixture, then toss to coat.
- Place mushrooms into the oven with tomatoes and bake for about 20 minutes, or until very dark and tender. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
Make the Pasta and Assemble
- While the tomatoes and mushrooms roast, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain into a colander, return to pot and toss with a few dashes of olive oil.
- Divide pasta onto plates and top with roasted tomato sauce and mushrooms. Optionally, sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve.