Charred tomatoes and onions pasta

Charred tomatoes and onions pasta

Who doesn’t love pasta?

It’s probably the greatest meal when cooking for one. It’s quick, convenient and filling. However, I lack pasta creativity. I don’t know about you but I tend to do the same tomato sauce over and over again, a sweet garlic-y marinara, enhanced by whatever veggies or meat I have at hand.

So when I read the grilled tomato and onion pasta recipe from Nigel Slater’s “Real fast food” book I immediately dog-eared the page and kept the book on my desk. I was so excited about it I knew it was just a matter of time before I tried it.

Inspired by its ingredients and cooking method, I created a variant that suits more my needs. I’m using cherry tomatoes to avoid whizzing the sauce, dried herbs as it’s always in my cupboard and I changed the cooking technique to minimise dishes.

You might think it’s strange to purposefully burn the ingredients. I too would normally scream in horror if my forgotten tomatoes turned out all blackened. But in a simple recipe like this one it adds a much-needed depth of flavor. Like baba ganoush, the charred skins add smokiness to the dish. And although they’re bitter, the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes cut it right out, leaving just enough acidity to make your taste buds sing.

This recipe is quick, easy and requires little ingredients. Make sure cherry tomatoes are on your shopping list and you’ll be able to make it up any night of the week. Don’t be scared to burn those tomatoes, a little char won’t do you any harm. But keep an eye on your oven, if it goes too far there is no coming back and even added sugar won’t save the dish.

Charred tomatoes and onions pasta
Serves 1
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 200g Cherry tomatoes (or half a pack)
  2. 1 Medium Onion
  3. 1 Garlic clove
  4. 1/2 tsp dry Thyme
  5. Olive oil
  6. 1 portion Pasta (I like fettuccine)
  7. Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven on the grill (broil) setting and move the rack to the top position. Put a pan of water on the heat and bring it to a boil.
  2. Halves the tomatoes. Dress with half of the thyme, a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix until coated and spread on a baking sheet, making sure the tomatoes are skin side up.
  3. Cook under the hot grill for about 4 to 6 minutes or until the skins blacken and smell sweet.
  4. In the meantime, slice the onion in rings of about 4mm thick. Peel and squash the garlic and mix with the onions, the other half of the thyme, some olive oil and seasoning.
  5. When the tomatoes are nice and charred, transfer to a bowl. Spread the onions and garlic on the same tray and cook under the grill for about 6-7 minutes or until soft and brown.
  6. At this stage the water should be boiling, add plenty of salt and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  7. Take the onions out of the oven when ready. Fish out the garlic clove and finely chopped it before transferring everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Give it a good mix to break it up a bit and check the seasoning.
  8. Drain the pasta and stir in the sauce. Top generously with grated Parmesan.
  1. If you find the sauce a bit too thick add a few table spoons of cooking water to thin it out.
  2. The thickness of the onion slices is important in this recipe. If they’re too thick they will take a long time to cook and if they’re too thin they will burn. Make sure you’re consistent with the chopping too.
  3. I like to season the tomatoes and the onions straight on the board to prevent unnecessary wash-up.
  4. Another trick to cut the amount of dirty dishes is to use the same bowl you’ll eat in when transferring the tomatoes and onions from the baking tray.
Singly Scrumptious

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  1. OMG, it looks awesome. I also like roasting certain veggies close to burning to get stronger flavors. I hesitated on posting my Brussels sprouts recipe for the same reason, but they were so good that I had to. I think that as long as you do it on purpose, and you know what to expect, it’s all good!

    • Andree-Anne

      Thanks Angel! Exactly, we just have to go for it. And some vegetables are better than others, onions never taste bad in my world, however you cook them. Brussels sprout is another great example, I actually think they taste better when caramelized and nicely browned :)

  2. Wow! This recipe looks delicious, but I’m not really into a chunky tomato sauce, do you think it will work if after point 6 I blitz everything in the food processor? x

    • Andree-Anne

      Absolutely! I just can’t be bothered with the extra wash-up ;). If you’re going to blitz it you could use big tomatoes, halved, seeded and grilled skin side up. That would save you time on the cutting. I think 2 big tomatoes should do the trick. You could even blitz the whole sauce, onions, garlic and all!

  3. Just found your blog and tried this out, delicious! You’ve got yourself a new reader!

    • Andree-Anne

      Amazing! Your picture looks great, I’m so happy you liked it. And I’m very happy to have you on board :). Cheers!

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