Two Tomato Pasta with Mozzarella, Basil & Pine Nuts

bowl is from Mystic Mud Studio in Hood River, Oregon

With all the tomatoes in the garden right now, here is great way to use some of those up.  This pasta combines two types of tomatoes - one batch that is slow roasted in the oven and another that is just cut up, fresh.  It requires no real cooking, just letting the little grape tomatoes sit in the oven for a couple of hours at 300 degrees F and then boiling the pasta.  Everything is just tossed together in the serving bowl to create a fresh summer pasta dish with a minimal amount of effort.
When buying the mozzarella, try to find the type that is packed in water and comes in tubs. It's much fresher tasting and the texture is better than the type that is vacuum sealed.
Tip:  I've also made this recipe with grape tomatoes for both the roasted and fresh.  Works great. And another great pasta for this is orrecchiete - it holds the sauce so well.
Two Tomato Pasta with Mozzarella, Basil & Pine Nuts

for a printable recipe, click here
serves 4 
Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can.  It will take this dish to a new level! You can also use grape tomatoes for the roasted and the fresh, if you like.  And orecchiette pasta makes a great alternative to the spaghetti.
  • 10 ounces of grape tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 10 ounces spaghetti
  • 14 ounces very small tomatoes (about 8 to 10), cut into chunks
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, cubed
  • about 10 basil leaves, julienned 

For the slow roasted tomatoes:  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.  Slice grape tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet with the garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Toss well. Bake for about two hours or until the tomatoes are reduced down and have lost a lot of their moisture. 
Toast the pine nuts: Place pine nuts in a small skillet.  Cook over medium high heat just for a few minutes, until lightly toasted. 
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.  Cook the pasta just until al dente. Remove with tongs and place in a large serving bowl (don't drain- you want a little pasta water still on the pasta so it doesn't stick). Add the slow roasted tomatoes, the toasted pine nuts, the fresh tomatoes, the mozzarella, 4 tablespoons olive oil and the basil leaves.  Season generously with salt and pepper and toss well.