Every once in a while I read an article that excites me from the very first phrase. This essay on the state of restaurant dishes, from the latest issue of Bon Appetit, is one such piece.   It expresses  the sense of frustration I sometimes feel when we visit a nice restaurant and have a hard time finding a meal that’s not overly rich.  And that includes the salads! 😉 These days the safest option for a meal out – if we want to still feel great 4 hours later –  is a Japanese restaurant.  But, enough complaining, this pasta typifies the cooking we like the most.  Light in fat, full of flavor, and quick to put together!


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Whole-wheat spaghetti (enough for two people)
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1 lemon
big bunch of baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Cut each tomato in half, place in a large bowl and add the olive oil, shaking the bowl to uniformly coat the tomatoes.  Spread them in a large baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 420F for 25-30 minutes, until their skin starts to develop a brown color, and they release liquid.  Reserve.

Boil salted water to cook the pasta. When the pasta is almost ready, transfer the roasted tomatoes to a sautée pan on medium-high heat, making sure to include all the liquid released during roasting.   Add the spinach, squeeze the juice of the lemon all over, and cover the pan until the spinach starts to wilt.

Reserve some of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and add it to the spinach and tomato mixture.  Cook everything together for a couple of minutes, if needed add some of the pasta cooking water. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and right before serving add a very generous amount of lemon zest all over it.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  We absolutely loved this pasta!  The lemon zest is a key ingredient, don’t skip it.   You’ll notice I didn’t add any garlic, onions, or herbs.  This dish is all about the tomatoes and spinach, with the intense citric tone in the background.  Phil and I were talking the other day about how we prefer food prepared in a simpler way.  Of course, if I’m making a curry I will need to grab a good number of spices, it’s part of the deal…  But, we find something pleasing about allowing the ingredients to shine, rather than the spices.  In this case, to savor the tomatoes, the spinach and the pasta itself.

This dish was simultaneously satisfying and light.  Next day it made for a wonderful lunch, and I even confess to eating it cold from the refrigerator…   Impromptu Pasta Salad!

ONE YEAR AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

TWO YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

THREE YEARS AGO: Memories of Pasteis (and my Dad)


  1. There’s so much to like about this dish, Sally. Roasting the cherry tomatoes is such a nice touch, as is the addition of the baby spinach. And adding a squeeze of lemon and a bit of zest is a sure fire way of brightening up the dish. With such great flavors, less is definitely more. Your tasty pasta is proof.


  2. Great article from Bon Appetit, I subscribe to the magazine and had read it. Good that you found it online to post. I read it for my husband, and he completely agree too. We have to eat out often for work-related activitites and it we feel the same way.

    your pasta turned out beautiful, love the photo!

    HOpe you are having a nice week, Sally – sorry about the sadness you and Phil have to go through


  3. I loved that article also! And it’s so funny you say that about japanese restaurants because honestly…the only time I ever eat out with any frequency is to sushi places.🙂

    Love the sound of this pasta. Bursting with flavor but without overdoing it on the calories!!


  4. Sally, I actually dreamt about pasta with cherry tomatoes last night – good gracious sister, this blog-epathy is something else! Wonderful addition with the lovely lemon and isn’t wilted spinach the best? (I sneak it into so many dishes and lately into quesadillas…mmm…). Can’t wait to see what I dream about tonight😉.


    • Oh, that is TOO GOOD! It happens to us quite a bit, this blog-epathy (loved the term!)

      hummmmm… the quesadilla with spinach is a strike of genius!

      Hope you will have wonderful dreams, and then cook them – and blog about them! 😉


  5. I couldn’t agree with you more Sally! We are often so frustrated after we eat out. The only food we really enjoy eating out is sushi. Otherwise, we find much more enjoyment out of the simple things we make at home. Lemon, tomatoes, and spinach are great flavors for a pasta dish. I would absolutely love this one!🙂


    • That makes at least three of us here! Sushi rocks….
      I doubt I’ll ever try to make it at home from scratch, but we have actually a nice place for sushi here. And in Norman we had two fantastic sushi places, plus another one in Oklahoma City we were very fond of.


  6. I have to admit to being someone who is addicted to spices and they do indeed overpower other ingredients. I am trying to cut down on that and enjoy recipes like this wonderful one you shared today that allows simple ingredients to shine.
    Bookmarked to try soon Sally


  7. I totally agree with you, Sally! I have the latest issue, but it’s still under wraps until I get the chance to read it. We’ve found the same problem here with tons of salt on everything, almost beyond palatable.. I’m not sure why they think that’s a good plan, when the food itself it the best part. I love the look of this dish, we have some gluten-free pasta that is quite “sturdy”, much like whole wheat.. so I’ll remember this one! xx


    • Too much salt, too much garlic, way too much fat, too much sauce, and the list goes on and on and on. We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner yesterday with a seminar speaker, and I can STILL taste some garlic lingering… you could scare a full population of vampires off Manhattan, Kansas with the pesto on my chicken.


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