This came from my love of roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions. I do a pasta sort of like this in the winter and thought lets try a cold version and put a vinaigrette on it.
Turns out it was a great idea, this has more flavor than you would think possible considering there are not a lot of ingredients.
Tomatoes get such a rich flavor when they're roasted, the sugars come out and that tomatoey (not sure that's really a word!) flavor just gets lush.
The onions get nice and caramelly sweet as well and that's why I add some red chili flakes and some garlic towards the end of caramelizing. The chili and then the vinegar give that sweetness a nice balance.
Like most pasts salads this really just gets better by the 2nd and 3rd day.
A little trick I like to do when using the leftovers, is drizzle a little olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon and a fresh sprinkle of salt and it just brightens it up and makes it fresh.
This was a side at our 4th of July BBQ, but it became the main course when I added some simple grilled shrimp.
Roasted tomato and caramelized onion vinaigrette
Serves 10-12 as a side and 4-6 as a main
total time 35 minutes
Ingredients for pasta
1 lb spaghetti broken in half and cooked to package directions (I like spaghetti for this but use any pasta you like)
2 10 oz pkgs sweet cherry tomatoes
3 ears of fresh corn kernels
1 pkg fresh mozzarella diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Ingredients for dressing
1 large white onion or 2 medium onions sliced thin
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup red wine vinegar or white balsamic
1 cup good quality olive oil
Pre heat oven to 400.
Slice tomatoes in half lay them on a baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes or until they have shriveled a bit and there is some caramelization on the edges. Let cool
Meanwhile in a medium skillet add the sliced onions and a good glug of olive oil and let cook over med/low heat. Once you start seeing a fair amount of caramelization on the onions (about 15-20 minutes) add in the garlic and the chili flakes and cook for another 3-5 minutes, just to soften the garlic. Take of the heat and let cool for a couple minutes.
In a blender or food processor, add all the remaining dressing ingredients including the onion mixture, except the olive oil and blend well. Add olive oil and blend to combine.
In a large bowl add pasta, tomatoes and the juices, mozzarella and corn. Add your dressing and mix well, add the fresh basil and parmesan and mix to combine.