oh… those crusty borders

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.

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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.

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Simple, without a doubt, but oh so very good. So get thee some cherries and start baking!

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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.

Serves 3-4

9 Comments

Filed under food, savory

9 responses to “oh… those crusty borders

  1. Bread or pasta dishes like this.. (okay well ANYTHING you make) has me drooling – regardless of what time it is.

    I love to roast cherry and grape tomatoes! I will try them with pasta – it sounds so good! =)

  2. I have to agree with Lisa. Bread or pasta and I’m weak at the knees. Put the two together and I’m gone! P.S. Thanks for the oreo recipe link!

  3. I love that you put a new twist on it. I made it when my boyfriend was out of town and I think that I’ll be making it again, trying it your way.

  4. Elle

    What a great recipe, with all the best ingredients. The photos are ‘lick the screen’ good, too. I, too loe the crusty border…isn’t is the best part?

  5. Ohh, I cooked something similar last week. I made a regular tomato sauce but I used a herb/parmesan/garlic and breadcrumb topping! My pasta was ho-hum but the topping was great!
    Yours looks lovely with the fusilli!

  6. Thank’s for this recipe, I love that
    bye candy

  7. Lisa- Thanks for the compliments, you made me blush for a moment😉 And yep, this recipe is definitely a keeper and takes 25 minutes from start to finish.

    Laura- Yeah, definitely agree, flour and cheese are more important than meat in my book. And you are welcome, I´m sure that recipe must be great.

    Jennifer- Thanks. Pesto is always great (have you tried arugula pesto?, that is also an awesome find I had recently).

    Elle- Yeah, the crusty borders are golden bites of pure joy.

    Freya- Yeah, I love the idea of this sort of topping for pasta, it adds a new texture and even more flavor.

    Pom d´api- Thanks. Let me know how it goes if you try it.

  8. Delicious…. simply delicious!

  9. Alright, I made it with ANOTHER twist. I added julienned zucchini and thinly sliced red onions into the oven with the tomatoes. It gave the dish a new level of body. Every bite played off the tongue with the tangyness of the onion, sweetness of the tomatoes and the mellow flavor of the squash. And, a standing ovation from the boyfriend.

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