Pasta Verde with roasted tomatoes and basil feature image

Pasta verde with roasted tomatoes for that dreaming of summer vibe

Try this pasta verde with roasted tomatoes and asparagus for that summer vibe, when the tomatoes are at their tastiest.

It can be made year round, provided you can get hold of some quality cherry tomatoes. They seem to be available from good vegetable stores almost all year, so this is a wonderful meal when you just feel a bit like a taste of summer.

The entertainer

It’s a great dish to serve when you have friends around. Make the pasta a couple of hours ahead and hang it, or coat in semolina so it doesn’t stick together. Then all you have to do is just cook it in boiling water.

Or better still – roll the pasta with your friends! It’s a fun thing to do with others, especially if you have a hand pasta roller and not an electric one. One person to feed the pasta in and roll while the other holds it as it emerges. It gets longer and longer, so can be tricky to do on your own! I’m lucky, I have an electric attachment for my KitchenAid and that’s made pasta making so much easier.

The roasted tomatoes make one of the lowest effort sauces you can think of! They cook in the oven with the garlic and all you have to do is mix through the pasta when it’s cooked.

The asparagus can be blanched for 30 seconds or so, then charred on a barbecue grill for extra flavour and cut into lengths. It works beautifully with the tomatoes. Don’t like asparagus? Easy – just leave it out!

Level it up

The roasted tomatoes are gorgeous as they are and simply mixed through the pasta, finished with a few on top. Don’t worry if you can’t get them on the vine, that looks fancy but isn’t a make or break.

But if you’re using a good quality dried pasta you can level this up with the help of some pasta water, freshly ground black pepper and pecorino cheese. Mixing these extras through the simple tomato sauce transforms it into something decadent and rich that comes with bragging rights. It’s inspired by the famous Roman Cacio e Pepe, just with the addition of tomatoes. It’s divine and definitely worth trying. I’ll add the instructions below the recipe if you want to check it out.

Enough said – let’s get to the recipe.

Pasta verde with roasted tomatoes and asparagus

Pasta verde with roasted tomatoes and asparagus

Recipe by Marti

Home-made pasta is infused with spinach and served with fresh tomatoes and asparagus.
It’s the perfect summer sharing meal.

Course: Recipe, pasta, vegetarianCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Some skill required
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Cooking time


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You will need

  • For the pasta
  • 400 grams 400 flour

  • 1 pinch 1 sea salt salt

  • 4 4 whole free range eggs, weighed*

  • 60 g 60 baby spinach leaves, steamed, cooled and squeezed of all liquid

  • *Cold water – add to eggs if needed to make a total of 240 ml egg/water.

  • For the sauce
  • 500 g 500 cherry tomatoes – on or off the vine

  • 2 tbsp 2 olive oil

  • 2 tbsp 2 balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 light brown sugar

  • 6 6 asparagus stalks of even thickness

  • 1 head 1 garlic

  • pinch chilli flakes (optional)

  • Grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), to serve

Here’s what to do

  • Make the pasta
  • Place flour and salt into a food processor.
  • Break eggs into a bowl or jug and add enough water to make up the weight of 240g. Add spinach leaves.
  • Using a stick mixer (or you could use a small food processor bowl or blender), whizz the spinach and eggs together and then add to the flour.
  • Blitz in the processor until the dough starts to form a ball, then turn onto a floured surface and knead until you have nice, smooth dough.
  • Wrap in reusable film or plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes-1 hour. If it’s a very warm day, pop it into the fridge to rest.
  • Remove from the fridge and roll with your pasta roller. Starting on the widest setting, roll at least five times, folding inbetween each roll, then gradually roll thinner until you have the thickness you desire.

    Cut into the width you want for your meal. You could use the rollers, or cut with a knife.
  • Prepare the tomatoes
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
  • Wash and dry the tomatoes, then place into a roasting pan.
  • Cut the top off the garlic and place, cut side down, into the roasting pan.
  • Sprinkle with pepper and chili flakes if using.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the tomatoes.
  • Splosh about 2 tablespoons olive oil and the balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes.
  • Place into the oven and roast about 20 minutes. Check the garlic after that time and if it’s cooked and soft, remove them to a bowl. Let them cool slightly, then squeeze the garlic out and set aside. If you leave it in too long, it may burn and that’s not nice.
  • For the asparagus
  • Soak the asparagus, tip side in the water, for five minutes. This loosens any dirt that’s caught inside. Rinse under running water.
  • Cut the tips off the asparagus – about 2.5cm/1 inch long.
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil and plunge the asparagus stalks – but not tips – in. After about 30 seconds, add the tips and leave for another 30 seconds. Drain into a sieve and immediately run cold water over to stop them cooking. Set aside.
  • Cook the pasta
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil with about 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt.
  • Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes, until it’s tender but not soggy.
  • Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water, and place back in the pan.
  • Dish it up
  • Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set about half a dozen per bowl to be served aside.
  • Using a fork, mix the roasted garlic through the remaining tomatoes with a little pasta water to make a sauce-like consistency. Don’t add too much, because you don’t want it watery, just enough to enable the sauce to mix through the pasta.
  • Add the tomato sauce and asparagus to the pasta and gently mix through. Home made pasta is a little more delicate than dried pasta, so be gentle.
  • Add the pasta to bowls and top with the reserved whole tomatoes. If using vine tomatoes, top with those. If you have some fresh basil to hand, top with a leaf or two for that Italian zing.
  • Place the grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) in a bowl on the table with a spoon for people to top with cheese if they wish.

Tips and tricks

  • You can leave the garlic and even the asparagus out and just toss the pasta through the beautiful roasted tomatoes for a super light, yet tasty and fresh meal.
  • The sauce is just as good with filled pasta or dried pasta too.

Level it up

For a cacio e pepe inspired sauce, use a good quality dried pasta instead of fresh and cook in less water than normal so it goes nice and starchy. The best pasta for this is a robust pasta from Gragnano, Italy. It’s on the way to the clifftops above the Amalfi Coast, where I recently spent three days cooking with an Italian nonna. More on that soon! Gragnano pasta cooks to a perfect al dente and holds the sauce perfectly.

When the pasta is cooked, remove the tomatoes from the oven and squash lightly with a fork along with the roasted garlic. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix through the tomatoes, adding pasta water and grated pecorino cheese to form a creamy tomato sauce.

Add the asparagus to this version if you want. Or leave it out and serve in pasta bowls with grated parmigiano reggiano on the side to sprinkle on if you want that extra cheesy boost.


Not all pastas are created equal

It’s true you know – dried pasta comes in all shapes and sizes – and qualities. Although I ditched poor quality soggy supermarket pasta years ago, it’s only in more recent times that I’ve realised just how much difference there is in pasta quality.

This was highlighted by a series by one of the YouTube cooks I follow all about dried pasta. Alex, aka French Guy Cooking, set out on a mission to make dried pasta and discovered just how much of an artform it is along the way. If you have an interest and haven’t discovered his channel, I’d recommend watching this pasta series!

I’m currently using Gentile pasta that I’ve found in Melbourne’s Mediterranean Wholesalers. Garofalo is another brand from Gragnano. There are others out there, just search your local area and you should find a specialist Italian grocery that stocks it.

The down side of this quality pasta is that it can be pricey. If you can’t get hold of it or your budget won’t stretch that far for pasta, just get the best you can and try not to overcook it. Pasta shouldn’t be soggy!

If you want a simpler home-made pasta version without the addition of spinach, check out my basic home-made pasta recipe. It will work with the tomato sauce just as well as what sauce you want!


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