I spend a good amount of time in everybody’s way in the produce section at the grocery store. I’m known to stand and stare for a few too many minutes at the piles of gorgeous fresh tomatoes and heaps of garlic heads. I can feel everyone buzzing around me, mostly annoyed, reaching across me for a ripe avocado or an extra full basket of cherry tomatoes. It’s ok and… I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m waiting for the tomatoes to tell me what to do with them. the answer is usually (and most successfully) ROAST! Even in summer. Tomatoes are bossy and they know what they (and I) like. Thank you summer time vines! These tomatoes are gorgeous. Tremendous, really. I slice most in half, large and small, and place them cut side up on a rimmed roasting pan. Cut side up ensures that all the juicy tomato goodness stays in the tomato and doesn’t completely bleed onto the pan. Salt and pepper, generously. Olive oil, generously. Heat, high.
While the oven is ablaze, I wrap whole cloves of garlic, drizzled in olive oil, in parchment paper and roast until butter-soft and spreadable.
Now it’s just time to boil the pasta, pick the fresh basil, and grate the salty cheese!
The making of a good bowl of pasta is mostly instinct. The measurements need not be exact. Add olive oil, roasted tomatoes, even a squeeze of lemon as your taste dictates. Don’t let anyone be the boss of your pasta bowl.
- 4 large red tomatoes, halved
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 heads garlic, skin on and tops cut off
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pound pasta, boiled and drained
- olive oil
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tomatoes, cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are browned and wrinkled, about 30 minutes.
- Roast the garlic heads at the same time! Place garlic, cut side up on a a large piece of parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap parchment and tie with kitchen twine. Place in a small round pan and roast with the tomatoes, about 30 minutes or until completely browned and softened.
- Boil the pasta while the tomatoes and garlic roast.
- Assembling the pasta is simple. Toss cooked pasta with tomatoes, soft garlic pressed from the head, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil and cheese. Enjoy!