Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta

I'm on a spaghetti bender, I know. Ironically, ever since the weather warmed up, it's all I want to make--isn't it supposed to be the opposite way around? But really, how am I supposed to resist something that incorporates little slow-roasted tomatoes, charred in the oven until they're collapsed and wrinkly and sweet as can be? Something that mixes crunchy bread crumbs with olive-oil packed, deliciously salty anchovies and puts the whole entire heavenly mixture right on top of a perfectly al dente pile of pasta? It's impossible, I tell you. But well worth the indulgence. 

Make this for a few friends on a slow, lazy, summer Sunday, as the tomatoes take a few hours to roast. Slurp it all up, and then settle in for a nap in the sun. It's very good cold or at room temperature as well, making it excellent picnic food. Let me know how it goes. xo

Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta
From Bon Appetit, June 2011
4 cups cherry tomatoes, divided 
9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
Kosher salt 
1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs (preferably homemade) 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme 
Large pinch dried oregano 
Freshly ground black pepper 
16 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained 
12 ounces spaghetti 
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
Small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

Preheat oven to 200°. Place 2 cups tomatoes in an 8x8x2" glass baking dish. Stir in 1 Tbsp. oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours (the longer they roast, the sweeter and more concentrated the flavor). Set aside. 

Increase oven temperature to 400°. 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 about 1/4" apart on prepared sheet. Evenly pack breadcrumb mixture over; drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Bake until golden brown, 3-5 minutes; set anchovy oreganata aside. 

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite. 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; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken, 6-7 minutes. Add roasted tomatoes. 

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