Saturday, August 18, 2012
Tomatoes Two Ways Pasta
Tomatoes are an amazing vegetable, not just because their unique flavor is, according to Tomatoland, the product of 15-20 volatile compounds, but that you can do so many things with them. This time of year, you can get amazing fresh tomatoes that are so sweet and succulent. Yet, roasting tomatoes deepens the intensity of their flavors.
With this pasta, I wanted it both ways: the rich, depth of roasted tomatoes and the fresh sweetness of fresh tomatoes. To heighten these two extremes, I also included ground beef and mushrooms, as well as garlic and basil.
When roasting the tomatoes, be sure to roast them in a nonreactive baking dish. Specifically, the acid in tomatoes will dissolve aluminum, so don't roast them directly on an aluminum baking sheet (you can still use one if you put parchment down) or an aluminum foil-lined pan. I used glass baking dishes.
The golden grape tomatoes that my farmers market sells are simply amazing. I get them every week when they have them, sometimes two containers. You can just eat them like candy, they are so good.
Tomatoes Two Ways Pasta
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 90% lean)
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. pasta (such as mezze penne)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup roasted tomato puree (see recipe below)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
12 basil leaves, torn or roughly chopped
1. heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, brown ground beef. Remove beef but keep drippings in pan. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until mushrooms are lightly browned and garlic is soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
2. Just after adding mushrooms and garlic to pan, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook 1 minute less than package directions for al dente (for example, my package said 9 minutes to al dente, so I cooked the pasta for 8 minutes). Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water
3. Add the browned beef back to the sauté pan with the mushrooms and garlic, season with salt and pepper and then add the roasted tomato sauce, the reserved pasta water, grape tomatoes and basil, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the pasta and cook for an additional minute. Serve pasta topped with parmigiano-reggiano.
Roasted Tomato Puree
2 lbs. fresh tomatoes (I had a mix of plum and larger tomatoes; I halved the plum tomatoes and quartered the larger ones).
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Divide tomatoes between two roasting pans. Spray or toss with olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp. worth) and season with a little salt. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes have shriveled and started to brown around the edges, about 2-3 hours. Watch after 2 hours to prevent burning and stir occasionally (every half hour or so). Allow to cool, then puree in a food processor. Store in the refrigerator.