baked tomato sauce

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sometimes the most simplest of ingredients will create a fantastic meal, a little bit of this, of that and a handful of fresh this. Most times, one I will think that the more complicated and the more ingredients listed in the recipe will make the better meal, and it seems like time after time, I'm proven wrong.

With a couple pints of fresh cherry tomatoes, which you can find all year round at the peak of summer freshness (thank you BC hot house growers!), fresh bread crumbs, a couple nubs of garlic, olive oil and a dusting of fresh basil leaves, you can have the freshest, easiest pasta you've ever made. And you can make it in 20 minutes. In the oven. Did I forget to tell you it's also covered in cheese?

I made this pasta and when I told the husband we needed to go out for breadcrumbs and basil, he looked at me strange, What are you making? I told him to trust me and we needed to go out, like now. Mostly cause I was hungry. Once we returned and I had finished the meal (in 20 minutes!), we were eating away and the husband looked at me and said "this is hands down the best pasta I've ever eaten."

I then of course shot back and said "Aren't you glad we went to go get breadcrumbs?"

Baked tomato sauce

[ adapted from Epicurious ]

3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound fusilli, farfalle or spaghetti pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces or cut into strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 9x13 inch glass baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure oil covers the entire bottom of the pan.

Place tomatoes cut side up in the dish. This is where my A type personality comes out. Neat little lines of tomatoes.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheeses and garlic. Stir with a fork to combine fully. Top tomatoes with breadcrumb mixture, making sure each tomato is covered with the breadcrumb mix. Top with remaining tablespoon(s) of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Bake until tomatoes are cooked through and topping is starting to brown, about 20 minutes.

While tomatoes are cooking, boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta until al dente, about 10-12 minutes depending on pasta. Strain pasta and add to baking dish with tomatoes. Add fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve immediately with more cheese to top.

See I told you it was easy.