September 22, 2011

Ziti with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes: A Delicious End of Summer Weeknight Dinner

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Well after a few days of fall it got kind of hot again, so it seems like we're not quite to bolognese-every-day-time yet. Fortunately, there are still tons and tons of delicious, end-of-summer, peak-of-ripeness tomatoes that we can all take advantage of.

With such delicious ingredients, you don't need to do too much to them to have a fantastic meal, and this dish exemplifies that notion. It's merely 3 main ingredients, but since the cherry tomatoes are perfectly ripe now, you can make this and feel like a terrific cook, even though you didn't have to do that much!

Delicious summer cherry tomatoes

Making the Dish
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.

Get started by slicing the cherry tomatoes in half and slicing the garlic. Then, since the sauce comes together so quickly, start cooking your pasta. We used ziti here, but really any tubular or short pasta would be fine - penne, or rigatoni would be a great substitution.

Simmering garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil

While the pasta is cooking, in a non-stick pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil with a touch of crushed red pepper until the garlic starts to brown nicely. Once the garlic is finished, add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a few minutes until some of the juices release and they begin to just soften.

Adding the cherry tomatoes to the garlic with some kosher salt

This will make them nice and sweet and create a nice pan sauce.

When you get to the last three to five minutes of cooking on the pasta, add the arugula straight to the boiling water with the pasta.

Adding the arugula to the boiling pasta water

Once the pasta has finished cooking, reserve some of the pasta water and drain the arugula and pasta. Add them to the pan with the cherry tomatoes and toss until the pasta is coated with the pan sauce. Add more of the pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce up a bit. Grind up some pepper over the pasta to season.

Tossing the tomatoes with the arugula and pasta and seasoning with freshly ground pepper

Serve garnished with freshly grated cheese.

The Result
We were extremely satisfied with this dish, and its simplicity really let the ingredients come through in their purest form. The combination of the slight bitterness from the arugula and the sweetness of the tomatoes worked together wonderfully.

If you're looking for a really easy weeknight meal that takes advantage of the bounty of delicious end of summer tomatoes, this is your dish!

Click through for the full ingredients list

Ziti with Cherry Tomato and Arugula

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A quick, easy, delicious, and seasonal meal perfect for an end of summer weeknight.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

(Serves: 2)

1/2 lb ziti
8 oz arugula
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
freshly grated cheese to serve

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