Monday, September 19, 2011
It’s the end of the summer, and I’m just about to say bye bye to my tomato plants in our garden in Todi. Most of the cherry tomato plants, as well as the big salad tomatoes, are starting to shrivel and I have no hopes that the last green orbs will ever turn red.
But the San Marzanos are another thing. They were slow to get going, but are in full form now. It’s always tricky with the San Marzanos. I’ve learned over the years that they usually don’t do very well where we live. They end up getting blossom rot, and I end up getting frustrated.
Yet, for some reason, I never truly give up hope and usually buy at least six plants, hoping for the best. It finally paid off, and this year - late in the season - we’ve got tons. (well, not tons, but kilos).
While I probably should get my act together and can these beauties, I’m just too lazy. Instead, I have my own way of preserving their summer goodness. Canning is just too scary and involves way to much boiling water, fussy peeling and all sorts of other fussiness.
Instead I roast the tomatoes, with little more than olive oil, salt, garlic and oregano. That’s it. If its dinner time, I toss them with some pasta. If not, I toss them in a zip lock bag, pop it in the freezer, and there is dinner for another night.
This past weekend I added a bit of crumbled ricotta to the tangle of noodles. But you can also use feta, ricotta salata, or any other crumbly, mild white sheep or goat cheese.
And don’t worry if you don’t have a vegetable garden. Head to the farmer’s market, snap up a crate of the last of the tomatoes and 'preserve' away. (no scary canning involved)
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes + Ricotta
1/2 kilo or 1 pound pasta
1 kilo or 2 pounds San Marzano Tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil (approx)
black or red pepper (your choice)
2 tablespoons oregano
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half, lengthwise.
Lightly oil two large baking sheets.
Lay the tomatoes on the sheet, side by side.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chopped garlic and oregano.
Drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Roast in the oven until cooked through and beautifully caramelized. About 40 minutes.
Take pan out of oven, and while still hot, add about a 1/3 cup of water to the pan with tomatoes. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up all the bits that have stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. This is flavor-packed and will add a huge boost to your sugo.
In the meantime, boil pasta in salted water and drain, reserving a half cup of the cooking water.
Toss pasta with the tomatoes and their liquid. Add a bit of pasta water if it seems dry.
Add the ricotta, or other cheese, a bit at a time, tossing to distribute. Top with a bit more cheese and serve.