friends’ bookstore and roasted tomatoes

The Encinitas public library’s Friends’ bookstore, just immediately outside the library is a favorite on my list in this town. The inventory’s always changing with new donations daily and you’re bound to find some interesting reads and for cheap too, everything mostly $1, some items $2-$3 and they have sales too, half off everything and always a stash of donated old magazines for free. I was there one afternoon and picked up a bunch of old home decor Domino mags and a bon appetit mag from the summer with Gwynnie Paltrow on the cover eating pasta. THE CRISPIEST CHICKEN EVER! headline also had me at first glance, free too, how could you not get inspired?

As the cover promised Gwyneth shared her pasta recipe for this amazing roasted tomatoes with anchovies. And she was dead on on the whole breaded anchovy thing giving the dish that umami note, some texture, bite and savory from the sea goes well with the sweet caramelized cherry tomatoes. Doing up tomatoes this way is really good, so good I make this sauce weekly now for pasta or just to spoon it over anything really. So whenever I’m cooking something in the oven now I always put a pan full of cherry tomatoes in as well with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, this way I always have a jar of roasted tomatoes in my fridge and lunch and dinner can be whipped up in minutes, easy.

Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta (adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe for bon appetit June ’11 issue)

4 cups cherry tomatoes, divided

9 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt

1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs

1Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Large pinch of dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

16 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

12 oz. spaghetti

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Large pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

Preheat oven to 200d. Place 2 cups tomatoes in 8x8x2 glass baking dish. Stir in 1 Tbsp oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast stirring occasionally, at least 3hrs and up to 8hrs. Set aside. (I always just put a pan of tomatoes into the oven whenever I’m using the oven for other things, regardless of temperature, high or low I always roast them this way, making sure to stir occasionally and I still manage to get that caramelized sweet tomato thing that the recipe calls for).

Increase oven temperature to 400d. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place breadcrumbs and herbs in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 Tbsp oil over, stir until mixture resembles damp sand. Lay anchovies apart on prepared sheet. Evenly pack breadcrumb mixture over, drizzle w/ 1 Tbsp oil. Bake until golden brown, 3-5 min., set anchovy oreganata aside.

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid .

Meanwhile, place remaining 2 cups tomatoes in a large bowl, crush tomatoes with your hands. Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and a large pinch of chili flakes, cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally until juices thicken, 6-7 min. Add roasted tomatoes.

Add drained spaghetti to skillet, toss to coat, add reserved pasta water by 1/4-cupfuls if dry. Remove from heat, stir in basil, drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Divide among bowls and top each with 1/4 of the anchovy oreganata.

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