Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sunny Linguine with Slow Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Garlic and Pecorino

Sunny days always makes me want to delve in to a bowlful of well ripen tomatoes. Their bright cheerful appearance and the burst of sweet juiciness within just makes me think of being away by some hot Mediterranean sea. And when they are slow roasted, their flavours intensified which makes them simply irresistible. And there's no better way to marry these flavoursome rubies than with their perfect partner, the fragrant basil leaves.

There is something really soothing about pasta with a simple tomato sauce. Although the famous Bolognese ragu are great example but for something lighter and summery, these roasted tomatoes are  the way to go. I would normally use ripen vine-on cherry/baby tomatoes from a good farmer's market for this as they tend to possess great flavours but don't worry if you can't get hold of them.  The beauty of slow roasting them is that it will turn even humdrum supermarket tomatoes and transform them  culinary jewels. If you are using large tomatoes, just cut them into small wedges and they will be just as good.

If you are not in the mood for pasta, you can always pair them, once cooled, with your favourite choice of salad leaves. Use the delicious residue oil as a wonderful dressing. Squeeze over some lemon juice and top with Pecorino or Parmesan shavings,

As you delve into these, you can't help but have a smile on your face knowing that summer is finally within reach. Not long to go but for now, this summer on a plate will do, don't you think?

Ingredients (Serves 2)

500g baby/cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
175-200g linguine
a large handful of fresh basil
good quality extra-virgin olive oil
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese , to serve


Preheat the oven to 120ºC.

Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them on a baking tray, cut side up. Dot slivers of garlic on top of the tomatoes and drizzle over literally with some olive oil to coat the tomato halves. Season with salt and black pepper and roast in the oven for anything between 2-3 hours, until the tomatoes lost most of it moisture and shrivelled in sizes.

Bring a big pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the linguine according to the instructions on the package until al dente so that it's still firm to the bite. 

Turn off the heat. Drain the linguine in a colander and return to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and tear in some basil leaves (same some for garnish) and extra-virgin olive oil. Toss to mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves immediately with lots of freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

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