Friday, June 24, 2011

Oven-roasted Tomatoes with Pasta

So I was browsing food blogs today and came across a recipe for stuffed roasted tomatoes that are served over pasta. It sounded delicious, except that it called for anchovies and pancetta and I am catering for a mixed group which includes one well-loved vegetarian.  I fully support her decision not to eat meat so I modified the recipe and, frankly, did my own thing ingredient- and method-wise.  Which is my way.

4 fair-sized tomatoes
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan for recipe and extra to sprinkle on when serving
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon of butter
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground cayenne
450g (about 16oz.) of pasta
1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

First, cut the top of the tomatoes, just under the stem base.  If the openings to the seeds are not visible, slice another thin piece off of the tomatoes, until they are.  You want to be able to scoop the seeds and the top of the core out of the tomatoes. I used a grapefruit spoon and it was the best tool for the job!  The grapefruit spoon allowed me to cut less off the top and still scoop all the innards out without a hassle. Save the top slices of the tomato and chop into small bits. Discard the tomato seeds and top of the core.

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C.  Heat a small saucepan on the stove with some of the olive oil and slice the four garlic cloves right into the heated pan. Sauteé the garlic until soft and then add the chopped tomato bits, salt and pepper (don’t forget the cayenne too) to the mixture as it cooks gently, until all the juice from the tomatoes is gone. Remove from heat.  Add the butter and let it melt.  Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and stir a few times until it cools. 

Add the bread crumbs and the Parmesan, stirring until fully incorporated. 

With a spoon (or I used a spoon and then my fingers) fill the tomatoes with the mixture and pack in the holes. Top the tomatoes with the balance of the filling.

Place in an oven proof dish, trying to keep the tomatoes upright.  At first I had mine in a non-stick baking dish, then I transferred them with tongs to a muffin pan (Thanks, Mom!) because they wouldn’t stand up.  Drizzle tops with olive oil and bake for at least 45 minutes.

About 15 minutes from done, put your water on to boil for pasta. Add salt and a little olive oil.  I boiled all 500g of the bag of rigatoni and had leftovers of the pasta because someone at my house (read: youngest daughter) will always eat leftover rigatoni but 450g will surely do, even for four generous servings.

After the pasta is done, drain it and return to pot. Drizzle with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together. (If you aren’t serving for a while, save a little of the pasta water to use to loosen the pasta again before serving and don’t put the tomatoes in yet. You will need to be able to stir the pasta vigorously while warming. ) Gently add the roasted tomatoes and the juice from the roasting pan and sprinkle with the flat leafed parsley.  Let each person scoop up some pasta and one tomato to serve.  Offer the extra Parmesan to sprinkle as needed.

(As suggested in the original recipe, I had fried crispy bacon to add but I kept it separate on the side so that each person could add or not add bacon as they saw fit.)


  1. Oh yum! I love roasted tomatoes and I am so glad I saw this today - tomorrow is farmer's market day! :)

  2. Us too, Kelli! Roasting concentrates the tomato flavor beautifully. Have fun at the farmer's market. Wish I could go with you.


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