Eunice and Jocelyn surprised me with some gorgeous cocktail tomatoes the other night. Normally, the only tomato we have in the fridge comes in the form of Ketchup. I can consume buckets of that thing each year, but yet, somehow I have an aversion to the real deal. It seems that I like tomatoes in just about any form except in its original plump and raw form. But when I saw the box filled with all that plump redness, I knew right away that I’d want to roast them.
Roasting tomatoes is possibly the easiest thing next to boiling water. You just need time. For any tomato, you can just halve it, season it with salt and pepper, drizzle some olive oil and pop them into the oven for 30-45 minutes. However, I’ve found that the smaller tomatoes (such as cocktail or cherry) are succulent and sweet, and therefore make for a divine pasta sauce. Don’t let the simplicity of the pasta below fool you. It may be simple to make with few ingredients, but a bit of spiciness peaks through from the savory-sweetness.
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Pasta with roasted sweet tomato sauce
Inspired by Epicurious
For the sauce
- 2 1/2 pounds cocktail tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or champagne vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or dried parsley
- Salt & pepper
For the pasta
- 1 pound of your favorite pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
Preparation :(this can be made 2 hours ahead of time and stored into the fridge for a day or two)
While Epicurious recommends using a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, this can also be done on a large cookie sheet (it will just be a little bit messier). Preheat the oven to 375°F. Align the tomatoes in the baking dish or cookie sheet with the halves facing up. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the minced garlic so that each tomato half has some garlic. Drizzle the olive oil (you can use less than 1/4 cup, but using the full amount really does help flavor the pasta later) and then the balsamic or champagne vinegar. Finally, sprinkle the dried crushed red pepper. Pop into the oven and roast until tomatoes are tender and juicy, which should take 30-45 minutes. You’ll know that the tomatoes are done when the tops of the minced garlic are slightly charred, the skin of the tomato becomes withered, and juice starts oozing out at the prompting of a fork.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water (by salted water, I mean GENEROUSLY salt the water!) until the pasta is al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the above tomato mixture. It’s okay if its not completely oozing tomato juice- the juice will come out as you mix the pasta. Add some oregano and/or dried parsley. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Garnish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.
This pasta would also great with the addition of some artichoke, caper, peas and of course, chicken or shrimp. It’s a basic sweet tomato sauce so really, feel free to experiment!