This time around, no bread for you! It was about time, I know, but before you all let out a sigh of relief, I have a feeling there will be a bread post in the next week or so because I´m about to experiment with a few classic breads.
This one is another classic, tomato sauce, but revisited adding a fantastic twist. You probably saw this recipe around, but at this point, I don´t care, because some of you probably didn´t see it and you are missing out on something great.
Here it is: baked tomatoes, bread crumbs, pesto and cheese.
I try not to do recipes I´ve seen in other blogs so as not to get too repetitive, but with recipes as good as this, it´s absolutely necessary to cook them and talk about it.
By roasting the tomatoes you get all the flavour out of them and by using cherry tomatoes, you start off with more flavor to begin with. The cheese-breadcrumbs topping absorbs the juices in the tomatoes and get beautifully golden with wonderful crusty borders (in my family, people literally fight over crusty borders in my grandma´s lasagna, so crusty borders are definitely a very good thing around here). And of course, the pesto (or the garlic and the basil) adds another wonderful layer of flavor in what is distinctly a classic Italian combination that can never go wrong.
Simple, without a doubt, but oh so very good. So get thee some cherries and start baking!
Baked tomato sauce (adapted from a recipe by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, as seen at Smitten Kitchen)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs (better if homemade, you could also use panko, as I did)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped and
1/4 cup of torn basil leaves (or do as I did and use a couple of tablespoons of homemade pesto and use just 2 tablespoons of the olive oil mentioned above
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound dried fusilli (corkscrew) or farfalline (butterfly) pasta (or any type of pasta with a shape that “gathers” the sauce correctly)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side up in the dish.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheeses, and garlic (or pesto) and toss with a fork to mix well. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the tomatoes, making sure that each cut side is well covered with the crumb mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then the final tablespoon of olive oil. Bake until the tomatoes are cooked through and starting to brown on top, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Time the pasta so it finishes cooking about the time the tomatoes are ready to come out of the oven.