Bucatini with Burst Tomatoes is a gloriously healthy pasta recipe made with juicy, colorful cherry tomatoes and fresh basil ~ no matter what the calendar says, this recipe screams summer!
Bucatini with Burst Tomatoes is as simple as it sounds, and if you’re the kind of cook who loves a no-recipe recipe like I do, then I think you’ll be very happy you stopped by. I only wrote this one down as a formality, and because I don’t want to talk myself out of a job here. I love regular recipes, of course, but on busy nights, I’m all about improvising. Bucatini is a hefty tubular pasta that looks just like a thick spaghetti, but with a hollow core. I chose it because the sauce is so light and healthy, I thought it could use the extra oomph of a sturdy pasta. I never want to leave the dinner table hungry, even on improv nights!
I am a huge fan of cherry tomatoes because they’re available all year round and they’ll give you a summery fresh tomato experience in the middle of winter. They’re wonderful raw, but when they are lightly cooked their flavor really comes alive.
In fact in this dish, the tomatoes are barely cooked at all – just enough so that they burst open and release their juice to make the sauce. I suggest using round cherry tomatoes, and not the pear or oval shaped ones. The round ones burst better, and have more juice inside when they do burst, so they make a richer sauce. When the inside of the tomatoes reach a certain temperature, they expand and their skins split open. Depending on the variety you are using and how long you cook them, they may retain their shape a little, or they may collapse completely. I had a little of both.
You can apply this same formula to lots of different dishes–see my EASY WHITEFISH WITH BURST CHERRY TOMATOES AND BASIL, or, perhaps the simplest of them all, GRILLED CHERRY TOMATO BRUSCHETTA.
I start by sauteing a minced garlic clove in a little olive oil. I’m not a garlic lover, I think it can be overpowering, so I only used one clove. You can use two or three… remember, this is a no-recipe recipe, so do as you please.
I love all the colors of the heirloom cherries, and since they’re mixed varieties, you get lots of variation in flavor and texture, but definitely use the red ones if that’s what you have. The important thing is a splash (1/2 cup for you recipe lovers) of white wine and some fresh basil. Cover and cook until everything bursts, about 10 minutes, and then toss with the pasta. Garnish with more basil and oil, and some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Buy the good stuff for a dish like this where it’s one of a very few ingredients.
What’s nice about a meal like this is that you can’t mess it up. What could go wrong with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and basil?
- 3/4 lb bucatini pasta
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, either regular red, or multi-color heirloom
- 2-3 Tbsp good olive oil
- 1, 2 or 3 cloves garlic, to taste, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- fresh basil, chopped. I used about 12 good sized leaves, but the amount is not important, go with less or more according to your taste. Save some for garnishing.
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Put a large pot of well salted water on the stove to boil. Cook the bucatini according to the package directions...I like to under cook the pasta by a minute or two because I like it firm, and it will continue to cook slightly in the sauce later.
- Wash the tomatoes and remove any stems.
- Add the olive oil to a large saute pan and heat it gently. Add the garlic and saute on a gentle heat for a few minutes, just to remove the raw garlic taste.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and heat through, then add the wine. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook them until they burst open and release some of their juices. 10 minutes should be plenty of time.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the fresh basil.
- Toss gently but thoroughly with the drained pasta and make sure everything is heated through. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, and serve right away, with more fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese.
Make it your own ~
- Use any pasta shape you like with these burst tomatoes. I think twisty fusilli would work well to catch all that sweet tomato juice.