burst tomato pasta with goat cheese balls

If you’ve read my post about homemade chips and guacamole, you know how much I love garlic! My husband doesn’t have the same love (or tolerance) for garlic as I do, but he does enjoy a slightly garlicy flavor. Prior to her elimination on episode 9 of Food Network Star (season 9), Nikki Dinki made her family’s Fire Island Burst Tomato Pasta with Lemon Herbed Goat Cheese Balls. This dish looked so appetizing on TV I knew I had to try it myself. In her recipe, Nikki slices the garlic, but I minced the garlic to remove any chunks my husband would need to pick around. I also omitted the rosemary in the pasta and the basil, mint, rosemary and lemon zest in the goat cheese balls as my husband isn’t big into spices either. The aroma this dish gives off as it cooks is so intoxicating and the goat cheese balls add a little tanginess to each bite.  :) Enjoy!

burst tomato pasta with goat cheese balls

burst tomato pasta with goat cheese balls

Ingredients (Burst Tomato Pasta):

burst tomato pasta ingredients

burst tomato pasta ingredients


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Pints Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
Fresh Basil, to taste (Optional)
1 box Capellini Pasta



Ingredients (Goat Cheese Balls):

goat cheese ball ingredients

goat cheese ball ingredients


4 oz Soft Goat Cheese
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Cracked Pepper




Instructions (Burst Tomato Pasta):

Cook pasta according to package directions; strain and set aside.

NOTE: If you like your pasta to have more sauce, reserve 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water to add to sauce as desired.

burst tomato pasta - cooking the pasta

burst tomato pasta – cooking the pasta

Heat oil and garlic over medium heat until tender and fragrant.

burst tomato pasta - garlic and olive oil

burst tomato pasta – garlic and olive oil

Add whole tomatoes and salt. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes start to break down. Using the back of your spoon, squish the tomatoes so they burst open.

burst tomato pasta - cooking the tomatoes

burst tomato pasta – cooking the tomatoes

Add thyme and parmesan reggiano cheese to the burst tomatoes, stirring until well combined. Continue to cook over medium-low heat about 3 minutes.

burst tomato pasta sauce

burst tomato pasta sauce

Add cooked pasta to sauce, tossing to coat evenly. At this time, add reserved pasta water, if needed, until pasta mixture reaches desired sauciness.

NOTE: I did not use any reserved pasta water when making this recipe for my blog, however when the tomatoes are not as juicy I only use 1/4 to 1/2 cups reserved pasta water because I don’t like my pasta to be overly wet.

burst tomato pasta - tossed

burst tomato pasta – tossed

Instructions (Goat Cheese Balls):

Mix goat cheese, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Once throughly combined, roll a small amount in your hands to form small balls, repeating until you have made 12 cheese balls.

burst tomato pasta - goat cheese balls

burst tomato pasta – goat cheese balls

Top pasta with fresh basil (to taste) and 3 goat cheese balls per serving.

Serve immediately.

Yields 4 Servings

Weight Watchers: 1 serving= 15 points plus

NOTE: The type of pasta used may changes the points plus value; Without the Goat Cheese Balls, 1 serving = 13 points plus

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