Wow. Why haven´t I made oven-roasted tomatoes before? That´s the question. Holy tomato, that stuff is good! And what a perfect way to turn dull tomatoes into deliciousness. And dull tomatoes are, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception around here. Of course you can get your hands on some tomatoes that taste at least of something, but they are a little pricey, as most good things are. Actually, I don´t mind paying for quality, when it comes to food (that´s where I really don´t compromise – life´s just too short not to enjoy good food!) but it´s nice to know there´s an opportunity to make something tasty of the cheap stuff too! Especially for a poor student like myself.
I bought some tomatoes last week – more than I could possibly consume before they would start turning into raisin-like creatures. But I feared not! Because I had great intentions for these babies! Fresh or not – it didn´t matter, because they were going to be roasted – shrunken in size but maximized in flavour! (I didn´t know that at the time, but so I´ve had heard. And that´s pretty much the thing with everything: time equals flavour! I mean, just think of cheeses, wine, parma ham, sourdough….it´s the umami that developes. Umami is the fifth flavour, described as a rich savory meat-bouillon-like taste. Umami exists naturally in tomatoes, but roasting the tomatoes intensifies the flavour to the maximum!) And that´s the magic here! Turning tasteless tomatoes into taste-explotion! Allright, let´s get down to buisness:
Like I said, these tomatoes were bought not only with a particular purpose in mind, but with a particular recipe in mind, too. I had read about oven-roasted tomatoes at the Norwegian blog veganmisjonen.com, and the pictures left me
drooling and craving wanting to try this! And I don´t know if I searched for a recipe, or if it just appeared, either way, it was perfect! I found it at one of my favourite blogs 101.cookbooks, and like most of Heidis recipes, this sounded and looked delicious. In her recipe she makes her own pesto, which probably is better, but I had a jar I had to finish. And I don´t have a blender. And this wasn´t about pesto. This was about roasting tomatoes. One thing at a time.
Pasta with red pesto and slow-roasted tomatoes (recipe adapted from 101.cookbooks.com)
80 g whole grain pasta
5-6 sundried tomatoes
12-15 cherry tomatoes
A few slices of red onion
1 teaspoon sugar
A handful spinach
3 tbs Xtra virgin olive oil
Cut the tomatoes in half, and arrange them in an oven-proof pan, hollow side up. Sprinkle with sugar. Roast for 1,5 hours on 160 C (320 F) – starting with a cold oven! (Turn on the oven as you put them in!)
When the tomatoes have shrunken, splash over a decent amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn up the oven to 225 C/440 F, and roast them for another 5-10 minutes, until they have a slightly grilled look. But keep an eye on them, you don´t want them to be burned after waiting patiently for them for all this time!)
(Eventually – if you´re in a hurry – you can do the speedy version and bake them for 40 minutes on 200 C/400 F)
Coarsely chop the walnuts, and give them a roast on the pan. (Or in the oven I guess! It´s already turned on) Cut some fine slices of red onion, and some bigger slices of sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook the pasta – al dente, of course, and mix with red pesto, onion and sun-dried tomatoes.
Arrange the spinach on a platter, and toss over the pasta. Pour over the oven roasted tomatoes – making sure you get all the juices where all the flavour lies, and sprinkle with walnuts and crumbled feta.
Enjoy! Trust me – you will!