Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Spaghetti's siren song

I did succumb. Then, with the taste of semolina still fresh in my memory, I did it again. I had to. I had too many tomatoes pilling up in the kitchen, screaming for a long, slow roasting and a quick toss with some spaghetti.

And, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of a long chew on gluten-free, wheat-free, brown rice noodles, let me just say that sometimes only wheat will do.

But I won't be doing that again any time soon, and I'll spare you the details. And until next time, I am eating my roasted tomatoes with my breakfast fry-ups, or with pecorino romano cheese and salami, or tossed into hot rice with basil, cubed fresh mozzarella that gets all lovely and stringy, and a tiny pour of balsamic vinegar.


Wash your tomatoes and cut out the hard core. Quarter the big ones and halve the smaller ones so your pieces are roughly within the same size range. Pack onto a cookie sheet with edges or a roasting pan, skin sides down.

Chop a bunch of garlic and sprinkle over tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Be generous. Then sprinkle with salt.

They will look like this (except, hopefully, with better lighting and more foreground focus):

Put the pan in a low oven, about 200 degrees, and roast all day (usually 5-8 hours, depending on size and juiciness of your fruit), checking every couple hours. If the bottoms start burning--not just carmalizing and darkening a bit, which is good--turn the oven down to the lowest setting. If they don't seem to be drying out at all, turn the oven up to 250.

When the tomatoes have collapsed into themselves somewhat and are nearly dried out, they are done. There should be a core of moist, concentrated tomato-ness that spurts a little when you press or bite into one, but no thin juice.

They keep well for a couple days or so layered in Mason jars in the refrigerator--just fish out as needed to put in sandwiches or pasta or assorted creative wheat-free snacks. I pull off the skins before eating these.

For those of you who can eat pasta with impunity and who have too many tomatoes, try this:

Working over a big bowl and using your hands, tear the skins off roasted tomatoes and discard. Break them up drop into the bowl until you have enough sauce to cover the amount of pasta you plan to make. Add olive oil and salt as needed and a generous amount of slivered fresh basil. Toss room-temperature or warmed-up sauce with hot spaghetti and top with creamy goat cheese.


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