This 30-minute Brown Rice Caprese Spaghetti is made with roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and a drizzle of oil. It is so easy to make and perfect for summer!
If you were living in Atlanta, you would know Virginia Highlands. It is a charming neighborhood close to the midtown area. It is full of cute little shops, cafes, and restaurants. In my opinion, it is the nicest part of the city. Plus, it has an organic farmer’s market that is open on Saturday mornings. For the last couple of weekends, we have been going there to have breakfast and shop for groceries. Though their produce is a little more expensive, I feel as though it is worth the additional cost because everything we purchase so far was so SO good. Both my husband and I agree their tomatoes are juicier, the strawberries are sweeter, and the salad greens are tastier than the produce at other markets. On our last visit, as I was getting some tomatoes, the farmer suggested I roast them. She acknowledged that it is too hot to turn the oven on, but still worth the try.
I must admit I thought to myself, why would I want to roast a perfectly juicy and delicious tomato? But I still tried it. I combined them with a couple of cloves of garlic and tossed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I roasted them in a high temperature (400 F degree) oven for 15 minutes. What she was saying was true. Because after being exposed to a high temperature for a short amount of time the tomatoes caramelized and became even sweeter and juicier. Since one of my favorite combos is basil-mozzarella cheese-tomatoes-olive oil (also known as Caprese), I decided to turn it into a weeknight pasta dish made with brown rice spaghetti.
About the Recipe:
If you look at some other roasted tomato recipes online, you will see that they keep the tomatoes in the oven longer than I did. However, I choose a shorter amount of time, because I wanted them just barely to burst and caramelize. After all, this time of the year is when they are at their best. With that being said, if you are making this dish when tomatoes are not in season, feel free to keep them in the oven for 25-30 minutes to make sure that they are completely roasted.
Lastly, when you read the recipe below you might think than 2 ½ pounds of tomatoes might be a lot, but for 16 ounces of spaghetti it is not. Keep in mind that as tomatoes roast, they will lose some volume. I found that the only way to get a tomato with every bite was to use a whopping 2 and a half pounds of tomatoes. Also, I was generous with the amount of fresh basil and fresh mozzarella balls I added as well, because again, I wanted a bite of my favorite combination with every bite. Believe me, after shredding it with a little bit of Parmesan and drizzling with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, this 30-minute dish will be a favorite in your house.
On Styling and Photography for this post:
Props and styling: The small plates I used in the photos are from Jono Pandolfi’s Nomad Dinnerware Collection. I used minimal prop styling as I wanted this dish to be all about the ingredients. The apron I am wearing in the photos is from Fog Linen.
To add an inviting human touch, I used my own hands (and body) as a part of the shoot.
Photography: I took all these photos with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using either my Canon EF 35mm f/2 or Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 . They were all taken in natural light. To take the photos with the food in my hands, I set my tripod MANFROTTO 190XPRO3 with my tripod head Manfrotto 322RC2 Grip Action Joystick Head on a timer. However, I did get some help from my husband to get it perfectly focused on the dish.
In terms of editing, I used my favorite VSCO film preset Portra 400. If you want to see the exposure values for each photo and more photos for this photoshoot, check out my Flickr account.
Do you want to buy these photos? Thank you! You can purchase these photos and all my other photos in my Picture Pantry Library.
Brown Rice Caprese Spaghetti
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 ½ pounds of cherry or small vine tomatoes, rinsed and pat-dried
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling at the end
- salt and black pepper
- 1 package of (16-ounce) brown rice spaghetti
- ¾ cup of fresh basil, chopped
- 10-ounces of small fresh mozzarella balls, drained
- ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
- Heat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the tomatoes and garlic into the sheet pan. Drizzle them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Roast them in the oven for 13-15 minutes*.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. When cooked, reserve a cup of its liquid and drain.
- To assemble: Place the cooked warm pasta, roasted tomatoes, chopped basil, and mozzarella balls into a large bowl. If for some reason the pasta dries, use a little bit of the reserved liquid.
- Give it a gentle toss making sure all the ingredients are equally distributed within the bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more if it is necessary.
- When ready to serve, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle each portion with grated Parmesan cheese.
Please read the blog post for tips on roasting tomatoes, if you are using tomatoes when they are not in season.