Samin Nosrat's Summer Pasta Dish Features A Unique Take On Tomatoes

Summer BBQ season is upon us and some might argue that the true stars of any summer cookout are the side dishes. From potato salad to baked beans to classic pasta salad, the sides really make the grilled items look even better, don't they? When it comes to making a side dish for a summer BBQ, pasta salad might be the simplest, in theory, to make and assemble, but there are a few tricks you can use to elevate your pasta salad to the level of, "OMG what's in this?!"

The history of pasta salad is unclear, but some chefs believe that it dates back to the Roman Empire when Italian Jews used cold, day-old pasta to prepare meals on Saturday since Jewish Law forbids cooking on the Sabbath (per Notes from Zamir). While most modern pasta salad recipes include cold pasta, cold chopped vegetables, and a light dressing, Chef Samin Nosrat has a trick that is bound to turn some heads at your next get-together.

What is tomato candy?

On a recent episode of the Netflix kids cooking show, "Waffles + Mochi," (produced by Barack and Michelle Obama,) Chef Samin Nosrat introduced her pasta salad recipe that includes what she calls tomato candy (per Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper). The basic idea is to take cherry tomatoes, coat them in olive oil, toss them with a bit of sugar and salt, and roast them until they begin to caramelize.

Roasting cherry tomatoes is already a way to enhance their natural flavor, and they're wonderful when added to a pasta dish like this oven-roasted tomato bucatini recipe. Roasting the tomatoes with sugar and salt, however, is a whole new trick. Per Insider, the tomato candy adds a delicious and unique flavor to the pasta salad, but the tomato candy itself does take five hours to prepare, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to make the entire dish. Nosrat's recipe also adds grated Parmigiano Reggiano, basil, and olive oil to the pasta salad, but beyond that, you can get as creative as you like. This unique take on tomatoes is sure to have a few summer cookout guests asking for your recipe. Sorry burgers and hotdogs, this pasta salad is gunning to be the star of the show.