June 12, 2012

Pan Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Spaghetti with Basil Breadcrumb Gremolata {Naptime Everyday}

Pan Roasted Tomatoes with Basil Breadcrumb Gremolata

What’s Going on Today: Daughter is at camp all day, loving the warmer weather.

Naptime Goals: Make basil breadcrumb gremolata to prepare for tonight.

Tonight’s Menu: Pan Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Spaghetti with Basil Breadcrumb Gremolata, White Wine

I told my daughter what we were having for dinner and she asked “what is gremo-wa-wa?” I nearly died laughing. It is definitely an unusual word when you take the time to think about it.  The whole idea of making it on this particular day was my fresh batch of breadcrumbs (from the remainder of an enormous baguette nobody ended up finishing) and, of course, the booming basil plant on our porch. I swear, if I didn’t know any better I’d suspect someone was slipping it steroids when I wasn’t looking.

For this easy, fresh summer meal I simply prepared the gremolata (I just said “gremo-wa-wa” in my head when I wrote that) in advance and whipped up the fresh pasta that evening. It was such a simple dish for a warm summer night. We loved how the pan roasted tomatoes made a natural chunky sauce and the small cubes of mozzarella melted into the noodles. Did my daughter enjoy her gremolata? You bet. But, after trying her first bite she said “Mom, I think they should just call this basil crunchies.”


 Pan Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Spaghetti with Basil Breadcrumb Gremolata


  • Salt & Pepper as needed
  • 1 box dried spaghetti
    2 cups small cherry tomatoes
    1 clove of garlic, minced
    3 teaspoons olive oil
    ½ lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
    ¾ cup breadcrumbs (which can be made by grinding stale bread in the food processor), lightly toasted in a dry skillet
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    6 to 7 leaves fresh basil, washed and patted dry


    1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

    2. In a saute pan drizzle the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and saute for just under a minute. Then add the tomatoes and a generous pinch of kosher salt and gently saute the tomatoes for about 15 minutes, or until they soften and begin to breakdown. Remove the tomatoes from the heat and toss in the spaghetti and mozzarella. If the pasta needs to loosened up a bit add some cooking water by the tablespoon-full until just loose enough.

    3. To make the gremolata: add the toasted breadcrumbs, basil, lemon zest, and a pinch of kosher salt to a food processor and blitz briefly until the basil leaves are finely chopped. Divide the spaghetti into four bowls, sprinkle with gremolata and serve.

    Naptime Notes

    Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

    To add some protein to this meal top the pasta with sliced grilled chicken or a piece of steamed fish. Those are both favorites of ours!

    Naptime Stopwatch

    10 minutes prep time, 20 minutes cook time

    Naptime Reviews

    This easy caprese-style spaghetti is a huge hit with everyone in our house, especially my daughter who has recently come to love cherry tomatoes.


    More Naptime Recipes

    3 Responses to “Pan Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Spaghetti with Basil Breadcrumb Gremolata {Naptime Everyday}”

    1. […] about every meal. So far I’ve made tiny slow-roasted tomatoes and a great simple dinner of pan roasted tomatoes with pasta. This latest dish came from my desire to for tasty summer appetizer to go with a summer […]

    2. Heather@French Press says:

      looks delicious!