#MeatlessMonday 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative Recipe 8: Tomato Pasta

Pasta With Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Pasta With Oven Roasted Tomatoes

So last week, I blended #meatlessmonday and the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative together.  My goal: to provide eco-friendly, cheap (cheap as in less than $11.50 for a family of 4 cheap!) AND totally meatfree meals.  It seemed to work, so we’re back with another edition!  Tonight, I’ll be making:

Garlic Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes

Shawna Coronado's Tomatoes
Shawna Coronado's Tomatoes

I’ll be using the amazing Shawna Coronado‘s nude vegetables (that means no chemicals and pesticides!) to make a garlicky pasta dish with some nice oven roasted tomatoes. 

The decision to make this pasta was was completely inspired by the ingredients.  I love cherry tomatoes, especially after they have been roasted in the oven.  They’re sweet like candy and have a great mild flavor.  The minute I saw Shawna’s tomatoes, I knew I had to do something that would let them be the star.  So I teamed them up with pasta to make a hearty meal, but in a way so that you wouldn’t miss the ‘maters. 

Making Garlic Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes

This dish is very easy to make.  You’re going to roast the tomatoes until they get shriveled up and ugly.  But let me tell you, the uglier they are, the better they taste!  In the oven, they get nice and sweet and delicious.

Also, as a serving note, you’re going to need something to with the meal to give it a little body.  I went with garlic bread since it’s clasically Italian, cheap, and who doesn’t like garlic bread?

You will need:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (free from Shawna’s Garden)
  • Salt and Pepper (free for the challenge)
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil (50 cents)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon olive oil (free for the challenge)
  • 1 loaf Italian bread ($1.50)
  • 3 cloves garlic (25 cents)
  • 4 ounces butter (75 cents)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided ($5)
  • 1 16 ounce package spaghetti noodles ($2)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake (10 cents)
  • Basil to Garnish (free from Shawna’s Garden!), sliced thin

Total: $10.10 (or less if you don’t us as much Parmesan.  Still, if you can splurge, you should.  It’s worth it!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1: The Tomatoes

Put the halved cherry tomatoes into a plastic bag with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, the dried basil, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Shake to coat the tomatoes and roast for 25 minutes.  Remove to cool.

Step 2: The Bread

While the tomatoes are baking, cut the Italian bread into 1 inch thick slices.  Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub each slice of bread with the garlic.  Then butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  You only have a cup of grated cheese for both the bread and the pasta, so how much cheese you add is up to you.  I like my bread really cheesy and my pasta not so much, but a cup should be more than enough for both. 

Bake until the butter melts (3-5 minutes) at 350 degrees right before you serve the meal.

Step 3: The Pasta

Also, while the tomatoes are baking, cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Step 4: Bring it All Together

Once the tomatoes and pasta are done, mince all the garlic.  Pour about two tablespoons from the 1/3 cup of olive oil into a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flake.  Cook for about 15 seconds, then add the rest of the olive oil and the pasta.  Stir until warm, then add the tomatoes.  Again, stir until warm and then serve topped with the rest of Parmesan cheese and thinly sliced basil.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Need I say more?

Get healthy today and follow the “2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative” with Blog Well Done’s Chris Perrin and The Casual Gardener, Shawna Coronado

Thanks to Shawna Coronado for the picture.


  1. Sigh…I’m so sad that tomatoes are essentially a non-event this summer on the East Coast due to the blight–while we see beautiful looking tomatoes at the farmers markets, they are all from hothouses, and to me (or my husband) not worth the $6/lb price. I lament this more because this dish looks really great.

    I wonder if adding some garbanzos would add a little more heft without feeling too much? Years ago, when I lived alone (right after moving to New Haven, but before the husband was cooking for us on a nightly basis) I tried adding beans to pasta and it was way too much–but I can’t imagine that a reasonable amount wouldn’t go well…

  2. First of all, my condolences. We thought our crop was horrible. Then we realized the dog was eating all of them. Next year: tomato fence!!!

    As for the garbanzo beans…I love the idea. We eat them here like they’re going out of style. I think making a puree and adding them to the oil olive (with some extra would be brilliant.) And cheap. Totally in the spirit of the challenge. Thank you!

  3. Hi Chris-

    Joey here, from Meatless Monday. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for all your terrific Meatless Monday posts you’ve done over the past couple weeks. We really appreciate foodie bloggers like you that help to spread the word about how one small change can spell a drastic improvement for your personal health as well as the health of our planet.

    If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our website http://www.meatlessmonday.com. Meatless Monday is affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, so we have health and nutrition articles as well as tons of meatless recipes that you’re welcome to try. (Although the recipes you have blogged about sound so tasty, you clearly don’t need any help. I’d love it if you wanted to submit any to me for feature on the site, crediting you and linking to the Blog Well Done.)

    I’d love to be in more direct communication with you so we can better coordinate outreach. If you’re interested in continuing Meatless Monday posts please email me back at [email removed to prevent spammers from getting it]!

    Happy Blogging,

    Joey Lee
    Executive Assistant
    Meatless Monday

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