Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine

Leave a comment

Family Recipe: Cherry Tomato Pasta

This recipe is a Shevenell original, and I’m honored / excited / proud to share it.  My brother, Ed, is the creative mastermind behind this flavorful blend of veggies, olive oil, butter, and wine, which can be served over pasta or a “noodle” like spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini.  This meal is delicious and good for you – especially if you go the 100% veggie route.

Mom and I whipped this up during her visit to Georgia, and it will become a regular in my cooking rotation (get ready, Nick).  Ed has a knack for coming up with new recipes and unexpected flavor profiles that taste spectacular, and this is no exception.

Serves 2-4
You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed and whole
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Balsamic vinegar (1-2 tablespoons, your preference)
  • Worcestershire sauce (just a drizzle)
  • 1-2 cups white or red wine, or chicken stock (or a combination;quantity depends on your preference)
  • Noodles of your choice (or spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini)

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat, then add the onions and saute until tender.  Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce, continuing to cook over medium high heat until the tomatoes blister, burst, and start becoming tender.  At this point, add your wine and/or chicken stock and allow ingredients to simmer.


We made our sauce with a blend of white wine and chicken stock, approximately 1 1/2 cups total, and it was excellent – the rich qualities of the broth and the acidity of the wine created a nice blend to complement the other flavors.

Allow the mixture to simmer while the wine reduces, approximately 10 minutes, then add your noodles, squash, or spiralized zucchini.  Continue to simmer for a few minutes, or until squash or zucchini is soft.  Ed likes to go with zucchini for the nutty flavor it introduces.

You can also easily incorporate meat in this recipe, just vary when you add it depending on cooking requirements.  To keep it easy, Mom and I went with cooked Italian chicken sausage, which also made this a heartier dinner.  Other good additions would be: cooked chicken, shrimp, or a flaky white fish.  For even more nutrient value, you can toss in some leafy greens like spinach or kale.


Recognize the shape of that cutting board? #ME

This is one of those recipes I love because you can stray from it a little bit or vary it to work with the ingredients you have, and it will still deliver delicious results.

Ready to serve!

Ready to serve!

I hope you try it – and enjoy!


Keeping Maine in My Kitchen

I have a favorite cookbook, and it’s not Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, or Giada, although I have theirs as well.  My favorite cookbook is Recipes from the Maine Kitchen, a compilation of favorite Maine recipes put together by Friends of the Cancer Community Center.  All proceeds from this cookbook benefit the Cancer Community Center, a non-profit that provides support and information, at no charge, to adults living with cancer and their family and friends.

Recipes from the Maine Kitchen

I’m not saying this is my favorite because it’s from Maine and that fits neatly with my blog, or because it benefits a non-profit, although I love those things as well.  It is the cookbook I reach for the most frequently by far, I love every recipe I’ve tried, and, in particular, I appreciate that the ingredient lists aren’t two miles long.  Rachael Ray is wonderful, but whenever I try a recipe of hers, I seem to find myself buying a multitude of ingredients I’ll never use again, and they inevitably go bad.  This cookbook incorporates many of the basics – the seasonings, spices, and foods I keep in my house all the time – into their recipes, which works beautifully for me.

Today, I want to share one of my favorite recipes from this favorite book.  Last night, I had my friend Bethany over for some girl time, and this is what I made.  It’s on page 157 and is called simply, ‘Pasta with Olives, Tomatoes and Cheese.’ And it is extraordinary – after all, how can you go wrong with a title like that?  It has these little chunks of Havarti that positively melt in your mouth, a parmesan cheese topping, and a great tomato flavor.

You’ll need:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 3 cans (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
  • 3 cups Havarti cheese, grated or chopped
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cooking Instructions:

Heat the oil, in a large, heavy pan, over medium high heat and saute the onion and garlic until translucent (about 6 minutes).  Add the tomato, basil, and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil.  If you’ve bought whole plum tomatoes, break them up at this point (a wooden spoon works well).  I buy the diced tomatoes so I can skip this step.


Add the broth and bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer until mixture thickens into a chunky sauce, stirring occasionally (this takes about an hour).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.  Drain the pasta and return to the same pot.  Mix with the sauce, adding the Havarti cheese and olives.  Place in a 9″x13″ baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

A bottle of Chianti goes well with this yummy dish!

Here are the end results:

End Result!

If you’re interested, I highly recommend reaching out to the Cancer Community Center to procure a copy of this cookbook and support a great cause in the process.  Happy Cooking!