I'm having a season-related identity crisis.
Our CSA share has not yielded any fewer tomatoes since the end of July, and I'm up to my ears in fresh, delicious tomatoes. A terrible problem, right? But all sarcasm aside, for the time being, I'm remedying my identity crisis by making big batches of roasted tomatoes with generous heapings of thyme and salt. Roasting tomatoes concentrates their flavor, sweetening the tomatoes without losing any freshness. Pesto is always a good idea, and bonus, it uses up the last of my huge basil plant before the cold gets to it.
Tomato Pesto Pasta (Makes 4 servings):
- 1 lb dried spaghetti
- 2 lbs. tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 tablespoon thyme, dried or fresh
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- olive oil, for roasting the tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh pesto (recipe below)
Pesto recipe (makes approximately 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 cup coarsley chopped basil leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Generous pinch coarse sea salt
First, roast the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. For larger tomatoes, halve them. For cherry-sized ones, leave them as is. Generously sprinkle kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and chopped thyme all over them. Then drizzle generously with olive oil. Place them in the middle rack of the oven and roast for an hour. For extra roasted tomatoes, turn the oven off and leave the door closed for an additional 30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are in the oven, make the pesto. Pulse the garlic, pine nuts, basil, and salt together in a food processor. Stream in the olive oil. Lastly, fold in the grated cheese. Taste, and add more seasonings if necessary.
Both the tomatoes and Pesto can be made ahead of time and stored.
30 minutes before serving, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta before it reaches al dente, aka drain it when it still tastes a little raw and hard in the center. Return it to the pot and add the pesto. The pasta will still be a hot and continue to cook until it's served, so we don't want it to be mushy. Add additional olive oil if the pesto seems lumpy or thick. Continue tossing the pasta until all the strands are coated. Top with the roasted tomatoes.
This stores really well for lunches to bring to work, or easy weeknight dinners. Enjoy!