Burst Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes over Pasta & Shrimp
Create a Quick Sauce with Local Cherry Heirloom Tomatoes to Toss With Pasta and Shrimp.
Tomatoes “burst” – fall slightly apart with all of their natural sweet juices.
Your choice – use the sauce with or without the shrimp. Vegan if you omit the cheese (and of course the shrimp.) I have used Gluten Free Pasta from Italy which stays al dente!
Ahhhh Summer! It’s prime tomato season ~ I’m loving all sizes and especially the sweetness of the smaller sized varieties.
From the tiniest “candyland” variety to a larger cherry tomato – “indigo sun” – I can’t stop eating and cooking with them! A host of colors, coupled with a flavor spectrum that squeezes flavor into every little bite.
Tomatoes are a simple pleasure, and one of my favorite things to eat.
I have a whole RECIPE CATEGORY “Everything Tomatoes” dedicated to them!
Varieties in this recipe: Sun Gold, Black Cherry, Red Cherry, Pear, Indigo Sun and Candyland (the tiniest.)
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes are grown in a variety of colors and shapes, from elongated to round to plum; even pear shaped.
The sweetest cherry tomato is the Sun Gold Cherry Tomato, the perfect, bite-size golden beauty.
Black Cherries are large, dark purple-brown grapes with a rich flavor and incredible sweetness.
Indigo Sun’s flavor is on the sweet side with a low acid content – and their yellow skins with purple streaks are striking.
Yellow Pear Tomatoes are very sweet with a mild flavor.
Candyland Red Tomatoes (Currant tomatoes) are much smaller in size than cherry-type and are ready to “pop” in your mouth straight from the garden.
Cherry tomatoes are the small, round guys with thin skins that squirt juice everywhere when you bite into them. They’re super sweet and have a high water content, and they come in many vibrant colors.
What are Heirloom Tomatoes?
- Heirloom Tomatoes are tomatoes that are passed from generation to generation within a family, usually because they have desirable characteristics that the growers wish to maintain.
- “Heirloom Tomatoes” are in sharp contrast to the more bland hybrid tomatoes most typically found at the supermarkets.
- Known to be sweeter from lack a genetic mutation that gives tomatoes a uniform red color at the cost of the fruit’s taste. They are many times “imperfect” looking as they and not disease resistant.
- Heirloom tomatoes are expensive because they are not mass-produced. With fewer available (than hybrids), their price typically stays high.
These types of tomatoes “breed true,” which means that if you plant an heirloom tomato seed, it will grow into a plant that bears tomatoes that look just like the parent.
- The lighter colors have the lowest acid of any of the tomato varieties.
- Best selection is not in the supermarket! Buy at farmers’ markets, farm stands, on the grower’s farm or at specialty markets that sell local varieties.
- The variety of an “Heirloom” must be at least 50 years old.
- Never refrigerate tomatoes. Store at room temperate on your counter away from direct sunlight.
Buy some ripe for the first few days, and some firmer for days to come.
- Some of the best tasting larger varieties to look out for are:
Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Green Zebra and Great White.
- These types of tomatoes “breed true,” which means that if you plant an heirloom tomato seed, it will grow into a plant that bears tomatoes that look just like the parent.
Enjoy this fabulous Summer recipe!
Burst Heirloom Tomatoes over Pasta & Shrimp
- 6 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes multi colored, stemmed; washed & dried
- 3/4 pound pasta* or gluten free pasta
For the Shrimp:
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 18 whole shrimp 16-20 size, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley coarsely chopped
Cherry Tomato Sauce
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves fresh garlic peeled, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes use 1/2 t. if you like spicy
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as thyme leaves & fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons pasta water saved from cooking pasta
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves cleaned, dried; packed
- 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano cheese shaved
- Cook shrimp first (if using.) Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large 14" skillet. Set heat to medium- low. When hot add the shrimp, cook on the first side until a touch golden, about 3 minutes. Turn over with tongs and cook until almost cooked through, one minute. Remove to a plate, add 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme and 2 teaspoons parsley and mix in; set aside. (Shrimp will be tossed in the warm sauce.)
- To the skillet, add 5 tablespoons EVOO, set heat to low. Add the shallots and garlic. Give a big stir and cook 5 minutes until softened but not colored. Add hot pepper flakes, stir in.Bring a large pot of water to a boil, boil pasta al dente and drain - saving at least 3 T. pasta water.
- Keep heat on medium-low, add all the tomatoes, sea salt & pepper - give a big stir and cook until tomatoes have burst (they will crack and release some juice.) This will take from 6 - 8 minutes depending on the size of the cherry tomatoes**. If the tomatoes are stubborn and do not burst, try raising the heat to medium and cover.Add 1 T. fresh herbs; stir well.
- To Finish the Dish: Add the drained pasta and 3 T. pasta water to the skillet of tomatoes. Give a big stir, taste for seasonings - add shrimp (if using) and toss to warm through.Toss in basil and parmesan cheese. Portion the pasta out of the skillet. Enjoy!