Yes, we know that summer tomatoes are perfect on their own—but we also like to give ours a little char every now and then. Blistering the skin adds a slightly bitter and smoky quality that can add great complexity to any dish. In this recipe, we use cherry tomatoes to maximize the skin surface area to beautifully blister. When you’re charring them, use high heat, avoid overcrowding the pan and stir the tomatoes as little as possible, flipping only once or twice.
The tomato sauce is really the star of this dish. It’s both tart and sweet, with a hint of smokiness, which clings to thin strands of al dente angel-hair pasta. Dots of fresh burrata add creaminess, while a fragrant and herbaceous rosemary oil gives the dish a nice contrast.
Pasta with Charred Tomatoes, Burrata and Rosemary Oil
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus cooling time
For the Rosemary Oil:
½ cup olive oil
For the Charred Tomato Sauce:
¼ cup olive oil, divided
½ (6 ounces) yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, diced
1½ pounds heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 pound angel-hair pasta
Charred tomato sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces burrata, sliced into 1-inch pieces
Rosemary oil, for drizzling
Fried rosemary leaves, for garnish
1. Make the rosemary oil: In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and rosemary, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the rosemary to steep as the oil cools to room temperature. Strain and reserve the oil. Save a few fried rosemary leaves for garnish.
2. Make the charred tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until translucent, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and crushed red pepper flakes, and cook until the tomato paste starts to separate and caramelizes, 7 minutes. Add the diced heirloom tomatoes and cook over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to break down, 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, rolling every 2 to 3 minutes, until completely charred, 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and stir to coat.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the angel-hair pasta until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the skillet of sauce with the reserved cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a platter. Scatter the burrata over top, then drizzle with rosemary oil, garnish with a few fried rosemary leaves and serve.