Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Vegetarian - Linguine con Pomodorini (Linguine with tiny tomatoes)

Linguine con Pomodorini
(Linguine with tiny tomatoes)
Vine-ripened Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes halves 
After cooking in the oven

Sometimes the most humble ingredient produces the most beautiful flavour. That is definitely the case with these delicious cherry tomatoes. When I saw these, only one dish sprung to mind, and that is a simple pasta dish with a tomatoes, garlic and basil sauce. These three ingredient are a match made in heaven and by slow cooking, almost drying the tomatoes in the low heat oven, it just intensified the sweetness of the tomatoes and produces such amazing sauce. This is not the quickest of dish, due to the long process of cutting the tomatoes into halves and slow cooking in the oven. However, that is all you need to do really for this delicious supper, just cooked the pasta and mix it in with the sauce and you will have the taste of Mediterranean sunshine.

(Serves 2)

450g cherry tomatoes
3 large garlic, cut into slivers
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g linguine or spaghetti
1 small hot chilli, deeded and chopped (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil for the chilli, if necessary 
a handful of fresh basil, torn (never cut with a knife as this bruises the basil and discoloured them)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Cut the tomatoes in half and put on a baking sheet. Place a sliver of garlic on top of each, followed by a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 1 1/4 hour until dry but still squashy. 

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente, i.e. just tender but still firm to the bite. If using chilli, fry in the olive oil for a minute until just coloured and remove from heat

Drain the pasta and stir in the tomatoes, chilli, if using, basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Served sprinkled with the cheese.

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