Quick Roast Tomatoes for Procrastinators

There’s a reason everyone was talking about slow-roasted tomatoes. Starting with Molly’s article in Bon Appetit, and then the Amateur Gourmet, and the Wednesday Chef, and then, as these things often go, everyone. I was a little slow on the uptake—I kept meaning to buy those last roma tomatoes in the farmer’s market, I kept meaning to set aside a Sunday for slow-roasting. These tomatoes have been on my mind.

But I didn’t follow directions. Here we are, weeks later, and I didn’t buy those tomatoes. It’s gotten cold for real. Our heat isn’t working yet (I think the thermostat needs batteries—you’re on that, right, Matt?) and I may dig out a hat for my walk to work tomorrow. But we didn’t miss our chance—even procrastinators can have roast tomatoes for dinner.

Realizing that my time was running out, I grabbed a container of grape tomatoes at Trader Joe’s. They would have to do. (Did you know TJ is selling Hatch chilies now? I got a bunch of those, too, for later.) I didn’t follow Molly’s recipe—I actually didn’t look it up again tonight before cooking. There wasn’t time for slow roasting, though I’m sure slow roasting is sublime and concentrates the flavor in a way that this didn’t. But this quick and dirty effort to conjure up some of the flavors that everyone’s written about was absolutely a success. Soft, sweet, and velvety. Stirring a bit of fresh goat cheese into the sauce upped the luxury factor, mingling with the tomato juices and coating the strands of bucatini lightly. It was shockingly quick and shockingly good.

Sneak this one in. You still have time.

Bucatini with Quick Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Serves 2

1/2 lb bucatini pasta
1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of sugar
fresh herbs (about a tablespoon, ripped up…I used rosemary, oregano, sage.)
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons soft goat cheese
1 or 2 slices proscuitto, cut into 1-inch pieces
pecorino for grating on top

Preheat oven to 350. Spread halved tomatoes evenly in a baking pan, sprinkle liberally with oil and herbs, stirring to coat. Add salt, pepper, and sugar evenly. Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. In the meantime, cook pasta to al dente and drain, retaining a tablespoon or two of pasta water. When tomatoes are cooked, add proscuitto, pasta and reserved pasta water to the baking pan. Stir in goat cheese, mixing the sauce together to get a light coating on the bucatini. Serve with grated pecorino and extra pepper.

In pasta, quick, recipe, vegetables

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