Tomato Mascarpone Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Burst Tomatoes, and Baby Spinach is a creamy, decadent dish full of Mediterranean flavors. Pasta is tossed in a luscious mascarpone sauce full of sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, parmesan cheese, baby spinach, and sweet basil. Cherry tomatoes are roasted until they burst open, concentrating their flavor and sweetness.
I've tossed this Tomato Mascarpone Pasta with slices of herbed chicken, but the addition of chicken is optional and can be left out for a vegetarian version.
Roasted red peppers for this Tomato Mascarpone Pasta are easily made on a gas stove by setting the red peppers directly on the burner. They can also be made on the grill or under the broiler. Turn the red peppers as each side blackens so that all sides, including the top and bottom, are charred. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 10 minutes. As the peppers steam the skin will loosen and can be peeled off easily by hand. To save time, you can also buy roasted red peppers from the deli section in the supermarket.
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes (454g)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 medium onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (1.5oz, 43g)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or a mix of oregano and basil)
- 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (425g)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
- 8oz mascarpone cheese (227 g)
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (1.8 oz, 50g)
- 3 ounces baby spinach, whole or sliced (85g)
- handful of fresh basil, sliced
- 1 lb cooked, sliced chicken, optional (454g)
For the Burst Tomatoes
- Drizzle the cherry tomatoes with olive oil. Roast in a 400 degree F oven until they burst open and the juices begin to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
For the Roasted Red Peppers:
- On a gas stove:
- Put the red peppers directly on the burner grates with the fire on medium-high. Rotate the peppers as each side turns black, including the top and bottom. Continue until the entire pepper is charred.
- Alternatively the peppers can be charred under the broiler or on the grill.
- Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the peppers to steam and the skin to loosen. Remove the charred skin from the peppers and chop.
For the Pasta:
- Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
For the Sauce:
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and saute until softened and golden brown.
- Add garlic and sundried tomatoes. Saute for 1 minute.
- Add roasted red peppers, Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes, chicken bouillon cube, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Let simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes.
- Add mascarpone cheese and stir until combined. When heated through, stir in parmesan cheese until melted.
- Stir in spinach and cook for 1 more minute.
- Turn off heat and stir in fresh basil.
- Add drained pasta to sauce and mix to combine.
- Stir in chicken if using.
- Gently stir in burst tomatoes and their juices.