Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Rigatoni With Olive Oil, Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

Since the weather has warmed (and boy, has it been warm!), we’ve been packing our weekends with outdoor activities, outdoor dining, outdoor drinking and yes, even outdoor shopping (helllllo farmer’s market!). Obviously, these action and pleasure-packed weekends rule, but by the time Sunday evening rolls around, I bury my head in my hands and wonder where the weekend went. I realize there is hardly any time left in my day to mentally prepare for the week ahead, let alone make a satisfying Sunday evening dinner.

DC cherry blossoms

Covered ground

Thankfully, the change in weather brings more than action-packed weekends – The spring weather also fosters a complete shift in my food cravings. Hearty soups, creamy pastas and comforting casseroles, no more! Come springtime, I want crisp salads, fresh salsas and cold pastas.  I also want to cook dishes that take less time to prepare, so I can spend more time outside [err… patio drinking].

This pasta dish is perfect for a quick and delicious spring meal! There are so many fresh flavors going on here: the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the peppery bites of the arugula and the spice of a liberal shaking of red pepper flakes. More importantly, this recipe is best served at room temperature, so you can avoid sweating while eating it outside in the sunshine!

Tastes as good as it looks!

1 pound of dried, organic rigatoni
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of fresh, chopped garlic
Red pepper flakes
Coarse sea salt
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh arugula
1/2 cup white wine


  • Boil water for the pasta and cook the pasta al dente
  • While the pasta is cooking, halve the cherry tomatoes and chop the garlic – set aside
  • Once the pasta is done cooking, save about 1 tablespoon of the starchy water, then drain the pasta, rinse it and set it aside in a big bowl
  • Return the empty pot to the burner on medium heat. Add in roughly 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, followed by the cherry tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook down in the oil for a few minutes. Once they start to soften, add in the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes, being careful not to brown or burn the garlic. Then, add in the pasta stock, about 1/2 cup of white wine, a liberal serving of red pepper flakes (to taste – I love red pepper flakes, so probably used close to 1 1/2 tablespoons), and a few dashes of sea salt
  • Let the liquid cook down for a few minutes (not too long! this is the sauce!) and then pour the sauce over the cooled rigatoni. Toss the pasta, making sure to coat all of the individual pieces
  • Finally, add in the arugula (I used about 1/2 of a pre-packaged bag) and toss with the saucy pasta until slightly wilted and completely covered in tomatoy, garlicy goodness
  • Add any additional salt or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • DIG IN!

Outdoor dining


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This entry was posted on March 25, 2012 by in Main Dish, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian.

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