If only June were here sooner, then I wouldn’t have to look at hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes at the Greenmarket … or be entertained by thoughts of tomato confit.
Thin spaghetti with slow-roasted tomatoes, tomato oil and herbs
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If you have the time and inclination, this recipe is worth it just for the aroma. Canned organic tomatoes, along with onion, garlic and herbs are roasted at 250 F for five to six hours. The scent is redolent of summer evenings — and that’s only at the twenty minute mark. Imagine what it seems like after six hours. And if you have any experience with slow-roasted tomatoes, it will be that much more difficult to stop yourself from eating all of them at once.
canned organic whole peeled tomatoes, drained*
garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
onion, peeled and diced
your choice of herbs — parsley, tarragon leaves, oregano or thyme
freshly milled black pepper
a scant pinch of sugar
Exact proportions are not important.
Pre-heat oven to 250 F. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a Pyrex or earthenware baking dish. Scatter garlic, onion and herbs on top of the oil. Arrange tomatoes atop the aromatics, then season with salt, pepper and sugar. Roast uncovered for five to eight hours. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Reserve half of the tomatoes for another use. Coarsely chop the remaining tomatoes. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. (You will most likely want to use pasta secca (dried pasta) for this recipe instead of pasta fresca but I leave that up to you.) Drain. Taste sauce for salt if necessary — it really shouldn’t need any. Add pasta directly to the roasting pan; toss to coat. My usual finishing touches include stirring in a handful of chopped herbs and/or some fried breadcrumbs (for visual, textural and flavor contrasts). Serve at once.
Time: Exclusive of the roasting, 15 minutes. The tomatoes can be prepared a day ahead if logistics are an issue.
* The juice is wonderful in vegetable broth or delicious all by itself.