Thursday, 23 March 2006

Cooking: Tomatoes and Pasta

All right - kind of basic, but we love it. Caramelising the tomatoes makes all the difference.

Serves 2 - 4.

Ingredients in metric. Sorry Yanks - the rest of the world left Imperial measurements behind years ago... As a small concession I have counted the tomatoes in non-metric units.

  • 8-10 good very ripe tomatoes
  • Good Splash or 3 (or 5) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground salt and Black Pepper
  • 1 or 2 anchovies, or Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • A bulb of Garlic
  • A handful of fresh Basil Leaves chopped or shredded
  • Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
  • 125g - 150g thin spaghetti per person
  • Fresh parmesan cheese or similar
  1. Preheat oven 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Cut the stalk core out of the tomatoes and cut a deep cut into each tomato. Stuff the cut with the basil and place in a suitable baking tray.
  3. Slice the top off the bulb of garlic, leaving the skin on and showing a cross-section of all the cloves within. Place in baking tray with tomatoes.
  4. Break up the anchovies into tiny pieces and place them on the tomatoes. If you don't like anchovies, you can substitute a sprinkle of Worcestershire Sauce (or omit it).
  5. Splash on the olive oil.
  6. Grind on the salt and pepper in amounts that suit you.
  7. Place tray in oven and cook till tomatoes are collapsed and caramelised. The browner the better - the richer the flavour. Don't go to black... :-)
  8. If you wish, pluck the skins off the collapsed tomatoes. I am in two minds about this - the skins do provide flavour but the bits of skin may be undesirable to some.
  9. Pull out the garlic. Separate out some of the cloves from the garlic bulb - as many or as few as you like. The cloves should be mushy if you squeeze them. Mash the cloves and add back into the tomatoes.
  10. While the pasta is cooking, pour a little balsamic vinegar (if you like it) over the tomatoes and mash it all up. It should look runny and very rustic.
  11. Spoon as much as you like over the cooked pasta and grate on some fresh parmesan cheese.

With a glass of good red - Heaven on a plate.

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