At this point in the year, I miss garden-fresh tomatoes in the worst way. It seems like forever ago that I could walk out my back door and pick a basket full of ripe, juicy tomatoes, in all different colors, shapes and sizes. I miss chopping them up, still warm from the sun, and tossing them with hot-from-the-pot pasta, olive oil, cheese and fresh herbs for dinner on lazy summer nights. Simple and so satisfying.
It’s still winter in Missouri, so I have quite a while to wait before I can grow and harvest my own tomatoes again. Big Sigh. In the mean time, I make this Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Feta Cheese as a winter version of the summer meal I long for. Most of the time grocery store tomatoes, especially now, are a waste of money. They may be red, but they lack the flavor and texture of a true tomato. However, little grape tomatoes are pretty good, and if you roast them, they become even better. A long, slow roast in the oven brings out their natural sweetness and a taste that reminds me of my beloved garden tomatoes. Throw in some caramelized onions and herb- flavored feta cheese and you have a flavorful meal to get you through the remaining days of winter.
I used Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles in this recipe for their taste and to provide some extra protein since this dish falls into the meatless category. They also hold up really well with the thick roasted tomato and caramelized onion sauce. Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles aren’t like traditional egg noodles. They are a thick cut, short, rectangular shape – much more like homemade egg noodles than their distant cousin – the flimsy, ruffled, white flour egg noodle. I don’t think this dish would be nearly as good without them.
Begin by tossing together two pints of grape tomatoes with three tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a 13” x 9” inch baking dish. Roast the tomatoes in a 375˚F oven for 45 minutes or until they’re brown and wrinkly.
Like this. They get so juicy from the long roast that they become their own sauce. Perfect.
Meanwhile, thinly slice three medium sized red onions and sauté them in a heavy skillet over high heat until they begin to brown. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook for 25 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and cook for about five more minutes or until caramelized. Set aside.
This is what the onions will look like when they have finished cooking. It’s hard not to eat them straight from the pan – they’re so sweet and yummy.
Cook the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain the noodles and toss them together with the roasted tomatoes (with all of the pan juices) and caramelized onions. I put everything in the skillet with the onions to do this. You can have the heat on low if things have cooled down a bit. After everything is mixed together, gently toss in a cup of feta cheese. I used the garden variety to remind me of the herbs from my garden, but plain feta would work as well.
Put together a leafy, green salad, a crusty loaf of bread and a plateful of Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Feta Cheese and summer won’t feel quite so far away. Each bite brings a little bit of comfort to these long winter days. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Feta Cheese
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper for sprinkling
- 3 medium red onions, thinly sliced (about 4 ½ cups)
- 1 package Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Egg Noodles
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I used herbed feta cheese)
Toss together grape tomatoes with olive oil in a 13” x 9” baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 375˚F oven for about 45 minutes or until brown and wrinkly. Set aside. Sauté sliced red onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Turn down heat to medium-low and cook for 25 more minutes. Add a pinch of salt and cook until caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Set aside. Cook pasta according to directions on the bag. Toss together roasted tomatoes (and all of the juices) and drained pasta with the caramelized onions in the large skillet over low heat until combined. Add one cup of feta cheese and gently toss one or two more times. Serve immediately.
Adapted from marthastewart.com