Upgrade Your Pasta With Lidia Bastianich's Cherry Tomato Method

Some things just go together — like spaghetti and tomatoes. There are good reasons that people associate Italian classics pasta and pizza with marinara and other tomato-based sauces. Tomatoes add a touch of sweetness and acidity to the dish but are neutral enough to pair with your favorite spices, herbs, vegetables, and proteins. Perhaps this strong association is why some forget that tomatoes originated in the Americas, the Aztecs referred to the plant as "tomatl" and Spanish colonists brought them to Europe (per CNN).

It turns out they grew well in the Mediterranean climates of Italy, just as some traditional Mediterranean crops like oranges grow well in California and Mexico. In time sun-ripened tomatoes became so popular in Italian cuisine that some forget their American roots. Moreover, this connection between Italy and America became especially thrilling when iconic Italian American chef and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich shared her game-changing way of serving spaghetti with cherry tomatoes. 

A little sweet and a little crunch

When Lidia Bastianich shared her old-school recipe for Spaghetti with Baked Cherry Tomatoes, Instagram went wild. Her secret is that she coats the cherry tomatoes with bread crumbs and bakes them to intensify the flavor and add a little crunch.

It seems this classic is a favorite for long-time Bastianich fans. One commented, "I made this a few years ago and still one of my favorites to entertain with." Another shared that the recipe is "one of my family's very favorite pastas! My 21-year-old daughter requests it for her birthday each year."

She also demonstrated the whole technique in real time in a video posted on Facebook. She simply cuts the cherry tomatoes in half, salts them,  and then tosses in a little olive oil and breadcrumbs. Next, she spreads them out on a baking pan lined with baking parchment paper and bakes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, until the bread crumbs look crispy and toasted. She recommended serving with al dente spaghetti and a simple sauce made with olive oil, garlic, and herbs like basil. If you need another classic Italian-influenced dinner option, why not try Lidia Bastianich's Primavera?