An end of summer recipe to celebrate the peak tomato season: creamy tomato pasta with herb breadcrumbs. The sauce is extremely creamy and flavorful from both mascarpone & parmesan cheeses. And it’s bursting with fresh, sweet tomato flavor. The breadcrumbs on top are such an irresistible contrast of texture and make this pasta extra special.
creamy tomato pasta – the details
There are so many ways to cook and eat tomatoes, but roasting and blending them up into a pasta sauce has to be one of the best. The tomatoes’ flavor intensifies as they slowly caramelize in olive oil, becoming both richly savory and sweet.
You’ll roast them for about 45 minutes with garlic, fresh oregano, black pepper, and lots of salt until they’re softened and ready to blend.
The sauce comes together in the blender while the pasta cooks in boiling water. It’s a mixture of the tomatoes (plus all of the roasted garlic, oregano, and flavored olive oil), fresh basil, and some starchy pasta water to thin it out and give it a silky-smooth texture.
The sauce is tossed with al dente fettuccine until it starts to cling to and coat the pasta really well. Over low heat, you’ll stir in mascarpone (for creaminess) and parmesan (for flavor) until both cheeses are melted.
After tossing, give your pasta a quick taste and make sure there’s enough salt to bring out the sweet tomato flavor.
The finishing touch is a very generous sprinkle of crispy breadcrumbs. It’s an extra step, but so worth it.
The contrast between the creamy pasta & crunchy herb-flavored breadcrumbs is simply perfect.Print
Creamy Tomato Pasta with Herb Breadcrumbs
a simple creamy tomato pasta made with roasted garlicky tomatoes, mascarpone cheese, parmesan, and crispy herb breadcrumbs
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 8 garlic cloves, smashed
- ½ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 oz baguette, cubed
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (oregano, parsley, rosemary, etc.)
- ¾ lb fettuccine
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- fresh herbs, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, and garlic to a large 10” cast-iron skillet. Cover with the olive oil, and season with the salt & lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Toss to combine. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, add the cubed baguette to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Heat a 12″ stainless steel skillet over medium heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Once hot, add the breadcrumbs. Toast for about 6 minutes until golden and crisp, stirring often (lower the heat if needed so they don’t burn). Stir in the chopped fresh herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the tomatoes have about 5 minutes of roasting left, drop the fettuccine. Stir well and cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions.
- Remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven and let cool for a minute or so. Discard the oregano sprigs. Transfer the entire mixture to a blender. Add the basil. Add 1 cup of starchy pasta water from the pasta pot. Blend until smooth.
- Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Pour in the creamy tomato sauce and stir really well to combine. Add the mascarpone and parmesan cheeses. Over low heat, stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce clings to the pasta. Taste the pasta and season with more salt if needed.
- Serve the pasta with the herb breadcrumbs and extra fresh herbs over top.