Cherry Tomato Penne with Fried Garlic Breadcrumbs

Cherry Tomato Penne with Fried Garlic Breadcrumbs

I really thought that by this point, with only about a week away from fall’s
official arrival, I couldn’t stand to eat another tomato. Oh how wrong I was.

When flowers reappeared on the cherry tomato plants last week, I was both shocked and thrilled. If the weather we’ve been having holds out for another month or so — which is likely, given the Silicon Valley’s propensity for Indian summers — I’ll be making this pasta dish several more times before the end of the season.

This a super quick and easy recipe; if you prep everything while the water comes to a boil, it can easily be on the table in under 30 minutes. It’s definitely my new favorite way to enjoy the sweet flavor of summer tomatoes — though, It’s hard not to love penne tossed with a fresh tomato sauce, especially when sprinkled with crisp, garlicky breadcrumbs.

If you are looking for even more recipes to use up a bumper crop of tomatoes, check out my guest post for Bob’s Red Mill (Roasted Tomato and Summer Squash Pilaf) or search the recipe index, tomato tag coming soon!

Cherry Tomato Penne with Fried Garlic Breadcrumbs

Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves: 2 – 3 as a main course


Penne and Tomatoes:

  • 12 ounces Bionaturae gluten-free penne
  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) minced garlic
  • 12 ounces (generous 2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6” piece fresh thyme sprig
  • 1/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Maldon sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

Fried Garlic Breadcrumbs:

  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh, gluten-free breadcrumbs (see recipe


Boil Penne:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta until al dente (reserve about 1 cup pasta water); transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Make Fried Garlic Breadcrumbs:

Set a small frying pan over medium heat. Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil until it shimmers. Add garlic and sauté for about 15 seconds; stir in breadcrumbs and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from heat once toasted.

Make Sauce and Toss Pasta:

While breadcrumbs are toasting, rinse and dry pasta cooking pot; set over medium-high heat. Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil just until it begins to smoke. Carefully add garlic through thyme to the oil; cook until tomatoes break down completely (the sauce will be bubbly and somewhat syrupy, tomatoes reduced to their skins) — about 5 minutes or less. Turn off heat, but keep pot over still-warm burner. Remove thyme sprigs, toss pasta with tomato mixture until reheated. Stir in basil and Parmesan, thin sauce (if desired) with some of the reserved pasta water, and season to taste (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes).


Transfer pasta to a large bowl, sprinkle fried garlic breadcrumbs over top. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.


Heather Sage

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Yields: About 3 cups



Cut loaf into 1″ cubes (remove crust first [I did for this recipe], if desired
— a tasty snack when spread with triple crème cheese, such as Saint-André).
Place in the bowl of a food processor; run machine until fine crumbs form.
Transfer crumbs into a colander with small holes (about the diameter of a
toothpick, I use this
by zak! designs — similar ones are available at Target and Sur la
Table) or a perforated metal strainer (also known as a China Cap, not to be
confused with a mesh Chinoise, available here),
and sift onto a large baking sheet.

Return any bits left in the colander to the food processor
and run again to chop them up into smaller crumbs. Repeat sifting and processing
steps until you’ve gotten as many fine breadcrumbs as possible (I had about 1/4
cup waste, pictured here
). Use immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe container with tight-fitting lid
or seal (mason jar, freezer bag, etc.). Store in the freezer for up to 3

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