spaghetti with slow roasted tomatoes

September 24, 2015 § 50 Comments

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San Marzano tomatoes are the most famous plum tomato to come out of Italy.  If you compare these heirloom varietal tomatoes with other plum tomatoes you will find they are slim, thicker fleshed, contain fewer seeds, and the taste is sweeter, less acidic and not overly juicy which which is key for making a nice luxuriant sauce.

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We planted this heirloom varietal in our garden this year.  We didn’t know what to expect considering the imported canned tomatoes we adore are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base and in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.  Our climate here in Seattle is mild, and the summer weather this year was particularly tomato friendly. Happily, we are harvesting these wonderfully sweet, sturdy plum tomatoes with little water content; making them perfect for slow roasting, then tossed into a bowl with your favorite pasta.  If you would like to forego the pasta these are lovely as is, straight from the oven to table.

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With the changing of the season, now is a perfect time of year to turn on your oven, set at 225°F (107°C), place a dozen or so fresh halved Roma tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and roast for a good 2 -4 hours.  If you would like to add several unpeeled cloves of garlic and fresh herbs, as pictured above with sage leaves, you will be pleased when your kitchen is filled with a delightful aroma.  These are unbelievably delicious.  Last week I finished a whole sheet of them in one sitting, by myself!

I n g r e d i e n t s
  • 10 -12 Roma tomatoes
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh herbs (optional)
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled (optional)

F o r    t h e    p a s t a:

  • 1 pound pasta, any shape
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • a few tablespoons of capers
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • handful of fresh basil
  • pinches of red pepper flakes, according to taste
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  •  parmesan cheese (optional)

M e t h o d

Slice tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast the tomatoes, centers facing up, in a 225°F oven.  Roasting time will vary depending on the size of your tomatoes.  I roasted mine for 3 hours.

Cook your pasta in salty water until a little under al dente, reserving some of the pasta water.

In a large skillet over medium high heat enough olive oil so it coats the bottom of the pan. When the oil is just simmering and add the garlic. Heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds, do not brown the garlic. Add the pasta and toss, adding some pasta water as needed. Add a few pinches of salt & pepper and continue to cook the pasta in the skillet until the pasta is perfectly al dente, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, add a few squeezes of lemon and stir in capers, pine nuts, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and the tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Add more olive oil, salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese, to taste.

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