Saturday, July 12, 2008

Penne with Roasted Tomato Sauce

According to Michael Smith you haven't lived until you've roasted a tomato! Sounds a little bit too strong, but roasting a tomato does work wonders. The simplicity of this method reveals a deep satisfying tomato flavor that will make this one of your favorite ways to dress pasta.

Unfortunately the tomatoes that you buy at the market today aren't really that flavorful, so roasting them like this helps by concentrating the taste. And one thing to keep in mind is not to put the tomatoes in the fridge. If you expose them to cold they lose all the flavor they have. Just leave them outside, preferably where they can have the sun hit them, and they will ripen more, giving them a little bit more flavor.

You can also roast tomatoes then refrigerate them for a wonderful addition to any salad. To be able to add them to a salad, you should roast the tomatoes at 250 degrees, for about 5-6 hours, to dry them. And skip the additions of pancetta, onions and garlic. Just add the olive oil, salt and pepper. You would end up with wonderful dried tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange skin side down in tight rows on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle a touch of oil on each and lightly season with salt and pepper. Because ovens – and tomatoes – vary it may take six to eight hours in total or even overnight. You’ll know they’re done when they shrink noticeably, lose their fleshiness and taste amazing.

I haven't tried it, but I think adding some black olives to the pasta sauce will give this sauce a kick. And if you can help it, don't skip the pancetta. Enjoy:)


PENNE WITH ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

12 plum tomatoes, halved
8 slices of pancetta or 4 slices of bacon, optional
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup of olive oil
penne pasta or other type

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C).

Thinly slice the pancetta or bacon then toss with the tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss into a casserole dish and roast until the tomatoes shrivel and begin to brown a bit, about one hour. The pancetta or bacon will infuse the tomatoes with lots of flavor and the tomatoes will caramelize and become very tasty. You'll know when it's done because it will look awesome and smell wonderful!

When you cook the pasta be sure to use lots of well-seasoned water. Taste it. It should be pleasingly briny and remind you of a day at the beach. Remember: as the pasta cooks it will absorb the seasoned water and in turn be properly seasoned. A pinch or two of salt is not enough! When the pasta is done don't rinse it. The starches that would rinse away will help the tomatoes stick to the pasta.

Toss the hot pasta with the hot sauce.

Yields 4 Servings

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