This light- to medium-bodied red from Sicily has been gaining favor with sommeliers for a while now. The wild berry and violet notes delivered on waves of fresh acidity, highlight the sweetness and brightness of the sauce.

While beefsteaks and heirlooms phase out in late September, quarts stuffed with cherry tomatoes don farmers’ tables until mid-fall. For tomato lovers hoping to extend the season, buy up several containers, pile them on a baking tray and roast. The extended heat brings out their sweetness, while olive oil infuses with the flavor. Prepare and freeze extra portions to pull out during the mid-winter root vegetable blues.

Serves 4; Prep time: 1 hour


1 ½ pounds of cherry tomatoes, yellow, red or mixed
5 cloves garlic, smashed
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus several sprigs for plating
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Package of good quality Spaghetti or Linguine
2/3 cup of fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper for seasoning


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together tomatoes and garlic in a nonreactive baking dish. Whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, and salt in a bowl. Drizzle over tomato mixture. Bake until tomatoes are softened and caramelized, about 1 hour.

2. While tomatoes roast, boil water in a large pot. Cook pasta to al dente by checking for doneness, typically one minute less than recommended on box. Strain.

3. Twirl spaghetti into a nest in a bowl. Spoon sauce over top. Top with a dollop of ricotta and fresh thyme sprigs. Serve.