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BAKED PASTA WITH CARAMELIZED TOMATOES
from "French Farmhouse Cookbook" by Susan Hermann Loomis

Denise Lascourreges was out in the vineyards, harvesting grapes as fast as she could when she looked at her watch and shrieked. She had twenty harvesters coming to lunch in an hour. She tipped her grapes into a waiting container, ran to the house, and produced this dish.

"I had no idea what I was going to cook, but you know," she said, laughing, "it was simply delicious. I surprised myself."

It is simply delicious, and what makes it so are the tomato halves, which are lightly cooked in olive oil so their skins turn a golden color, their cut sides become lusciously seared. They produce a wonderful tart and caramel-like sauce which is sumptuous over pasta. Mme. Lascourreges served this dish with Gruyère cheese. I prefer it with Parmesan.

Serve with a Buzet or Sancerre Rouge.

4 to 6 servings
 French Farmhouse Cookbook
INGREDIENTS (CLICK TO BUY)

5 good-size, slightly underripe tomatoes (see Note), cored
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, and green germ removed
1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces (300 g) dried pasta, such as fettuccine
1/2 cup (60 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

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PREPARATION

1. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally.
2. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking (when small ripples move over its surface), add the tomatoes, cut side up. Cook, shifting them slightly n the pan to avoid scorching, until their skin is slightly bubbled on the bottom and has a golden spot on it, about 4 minutes. Turn the tomatoes over and continue cooking until the cut side is golden, about 6 minutes. Shake the pan two or three times to move the tomatoes around so they don't burn.
3. While the tomatoes are cooking, finely mince the garlic and parsley together.
4. Turn the tomatoes again, so the cut side is up. Working around the tomatoes, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the garlic and parsley, and season them generously with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the skillet. Cook the tomatoes until they are tender through and the garlic is tender, about 10 minute, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the tomatoes from sticking. The juice from the tomatoes will turn a deep caramel color but it shouldn't burn.
5. While the tomatoes finish cooking, fill a large pot two-thirds full with salted water and bring it to a boil (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts; 4 l water). Add the pasta, stir, and cook just until it is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 ml) of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot, pour half the reserved cooking liquid over it, and toss so the pasta is thoroughly moistened.
6. Arrange the tomatoes around the edge of a large warmed platter. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining pasta cooking liquid, scraping up any browned bits, and pour that over the pasta as well. Toss so the liquid is well blended with the pasta. Transfer the pasta to the center of the serving platter, so it is surrounded with the tomatoes. Serve immediately, with the Parmesan cheese alongside.
Note If the usual globe variety isn't at its peak, use plum tomatoes, cutting them in half lengthwise. If you do have fresh garden tomatoes, pick them just before they turn ripe—their flavor and texture are best then, particularly for a dish like this.



Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Plum Tomato, Large - $1.99/lb
 
 
  Barilla Fettuccine - $1.59/ea
 16oz
 
Grana Padano - $17.99/lb
 
 
You May Already Have
  Just FreshDirect Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Mediterranean Blend - $10.99/ea
 33.8fl oz
 
  Peeled Garlic - $4.99/ea Save! 2 for $6
 approx. 8oz
 
  Italian Parsley - $1.49/ea
 approx. 4oz
 
  Just FreshDirect Ground Tellicherry Pepper - $5.99/ea
 2.2oz
 
Estimated Total:  
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