I realized I have posted incredibly few pasta recipes, compared to how often I cook it. Often people ask me what common beliefs about Italians are true. One is that we move our hands a lot when we talk. Another one is that we eat a lot of pasta: we are ‘mangiaspaghetti’, and proudly so. Pasta is good, cheap and also healthy, depending on the sauce choice of course. I love pasta and cook it quite often, though maybe not every day.
Yesterday I invited friends over for dinner, and did not have much time to cook. I made a couple of Ottolenghi salads (I must admit I cook almost every day a recipe of his), these awesome pear and hazelnut cakes, which I vividly recommend if you are suffering from any form of Autumn blues (I substituted brown rice flour with normal pastry flour and ditched the Xantham gum); and as a main, I made the easiest and tastiest pasta ever: pasta with oven roasted tomatoes. You basically can forget about it while you cook everything else. The result will be stunning if you use a good extra-virgin olive oil; if you are also blessed with good tomatoes, it will be memorable, but results are ok also with average ones.
The recipe is 100% traditional from Southern Italy. Quick recipe, quick pasta: I can’t help participating to the presto pasta nights with this one, this time hosted by the most inspiring vegetarian blog Chez Cayenne.
Pasta al pomodoro
Ingredients (serves 5):
500 gr spaghetti, linguine or other good quality long pasta
1 Kg tomatoes, originally sauce tomatoes like san marzano, here I use a kind of tomatoes on the wine called ‘Roma Tomaten’
2-3 garlic cloves
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
pinch of oregano
a handful of basil leaves
optional: chilli flakes
About one hour before you want to eat, turn on the oven at about 150 degrees. Wash and cut the tomatoes in half, arrange them cut side up on a high sided backing tray; pour olive oil over, sprinkle with salt, chopped or sliced garlic and oregano. The tomatoes will roast slowly and burn a bit. They will also make a lot of juices.
After about half an hour, raise the oven temperature to 200 to further caramelize the tomatoes. Heat a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta in it until very al dente. Take the tomatoes off the oven, add half a ladleful of the pasta’s water to them, and mix to scrap off any caramelized bits. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomatoes: it will soak up the juices and oil mix. Mix in a large handful of basil and serve, with optional chilli flakes to mix in.