Get Your Marmalade on for Dinner!

Tomato & Onion Marmalade with Angel Hair Pasta

I wanted my first blog to feature something that was easy to prepare and satisfying to eat – it was a difficult choice but pasta won out because it is an easy go-to for me.   It can be prepared in so many tempting ways and comes in lots of fun shapes and sizes. I always feel like a successful foodie when I can make a simple sauce that’s full of flavor in the time it takes the water to boil and the pasta to cook.  Mind you, I live at an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,290 m) so I am stuck with a little extra cooking time for pasta at this altitude.  Mostly my recipe ideas work and sometimes they don’t – this one worked great the first time I made it.  And even though the marmalade takes minutes to make it is full of rich, deep flavors. For this recipe, I recommend a combination of grape tomatoes (I am a big fan because they are packed with flavor) and Campari tomatoes on the vine.

Fresh Ingredients Give You The Most Flavor

My inspiration for this recipe came from our trip to Italy and the Marche (pronounced mar-kay) region last October. Our host Paolo at Agriturismo Ramuse  asked if we were hungry for lunch one afternoon and we excitedly said yes, knowing all the ingredients were fresh and local. It was one of the best meals I had during our trip – not to mention one of the best local Sangiovese wines I have ever tasted – because it was real food that connected us to his country and his land.

Melissa (L) and her new friend from Amsterdam, Netty, making gnocchi - a tasty blog for another time.

During a cooking class in Paolo’s kitchen later that week , I noticed the amount of olive oil they used as the basis for a simple sauce.  It was similar to how we use a few pours of chicken broth or stock to make a light sauce.  I have since re-created the tomato sauce from Paolo’s lunch back in my own kitchen and thought it would be a great segue for a tomato and onion marmalade.  The result was a satisfying meal made in less than thirty minutes.   I was excited to recently find at Whole Foods pasta made in the Marche region, which I used for the photo (Montebello brand/Capellini style pasta).  Angel Hair works just as well and is a tad thicker (try Barilla, in the blue box).   Note: For those interested, the blue and white striped apron that I am wearing in the above photo belonged to Jamie Oliver and was given to Paolo when he cooked with him at Ramuse. Pretty cool, but too bad I couldn’t keep it.

Double Duty For The Marmalade
If you have the tomatoes, you can make extra Marmalade for another meal; just double the recipe and set aside one cup.  Try using the marmalade on a crostini with ricotta (or just rub the toasted bread with garlic), as a condiment for your sandwich, over your favorite style eggs or on grilled chicken with some melted cheese over the top. 

Enjoy!  Please let me know if you try the recipe and how you liked it.  Here is the recipe:


Tomato & Onion Marmalade with Angel Hair Pasta   (click for printable version)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves 2 foodies – Recipe makes about 1 cup of marmalade

5 ounces Angel Hair Pasta (approx. 1½” loose bundle)
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion half (medium), diced
Kosher Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon dried Basil
½ teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves
1 medium clove Garlic, minced
1 ¼ cups chopped tomatoes (cherry tomatoes and tomatoes on the vine)
1 tablespoon fresh Basil, julienned (cut into thin strips)
2 tablespoons Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

1. Cook the Pasta:
Heat a tall pot of water to boil; add a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Stir in pasta and cook al dente, about 4 minutes.

2. Make the Marmalade and Assemble:
While the water is heating, start the marmalade. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dried basil and ½ teaspoon thyme leaves; Sauté until tender, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh basil and stir well. Let simmer over low heat while the pasta finishes cooking, stirring every few minutes.

With a spaghetti fork or tongs, transfer the cooked pasta directly to the skillet along with a few ladles of pasta water and 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese; toss well to coat. Serve immediately and garnish with more Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.

  • No need to chop the cherry tomatoes, just halve or quarter them depending on their size.
  •  To save time, Marmalade can be made one day ahead: While pasta is cooking, reheat on medium low heat and add a handful of cherry tomatoes to refresh it.
  • If Marmalade batch is doubled: Refrigerate extra cup in air tight container for two to three days.
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15 responses to “Get Your Marmalade on for Dinner!

  1. Cheryl Hogate Johns

    Melissa, this is by far my favorite pasta dish of yours!! I made this last night and was delighted with the fragrance of all of the herbs. They went together so well. I had just purchased a lemon thyme plant for my herb garden so I was able to use those fresh herbs from my backyard. I made the mistake of buying thin spaghetti thinking it was the same as angel hair. Well….it’s not. So we dumped the spaghetti and put a pot of angel hair on. In the meantime the marmalade had an extra few minutes in the pan because of this. It turned out wonderful! The onions carmelized beautifully, the tomatoes softened and the herbs just melded together. The red pepper flakes added just enough kick to make it so very delicious. We served it with baby greens tossed with a mustard vinaigrette and fresh bread with chunks of garlic. We paired all of this with an amazing Trinchero Napa Valley Meritage (Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot & Cab Franc blend) and it stood up to this dish and sang! Who needs to go out when you can make meals like this at home! Thank you for sharing your love of food with us 🙂

  2. Hey Aunt Melissa,
    I made this for dinner the other night and both Mark and I loved it. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  3. Cheryl Hogate Johns

    Thanks for adding a print button for the recipes! I’m making this for Ron tonight. I’m sure he will love it!

  4. Kim O'Connell

    Melissa I am so excited to try this. I’ve always enjoyed your cooking! Love that you follow your dreams.

  5. Congrats, Melissa! This is great. Might have to double the recipe for the family. Feel free to test any of the recipes at bookclub first. We are happy to support the blog.

  6. Your recipe and the pictures are great. I can’t wait to try out your first dish. Thanks for letting me know about your blog I know I’ll enjoy reading it.

  7. Thanks Tami and Cheryl for your encouragement! I finally did it!

  8. Hi Melissa, I’m your dad’s cousin, Ronni. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I’ve been blogging since last May and having a great time, meeting lots of fellow bloggers, and also use WordPress. I enjoyed your post. Will have to try your recipe soon. Have fun!

  9. Cheryl Hogate Johns

    I am looking forward to making this next week! Love your blog and keep the recipes coming!

  10. Congrats Melissa on your foodie blog!! This 1st recipe looks so delicious; I can’t wait to try it! Love the pix, love your words and I look forward to following your passions and dreams on this blog!

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