Yes, we are still working on our supply of tomatoes and this baked tomato sauce is a yummy addition to our rotation. The first time I made it was three years ago when my friend Suzy gave me the link to The Wednesday Chef blog. I’ve made the recipe many times since and Luisa’s blog is a steady source of great recipes and stories.What I like about this recipe is the use of cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. It lends a different flavour to your sauce than larger tomatoes do and we tend to get large batches of them in September. Adding breadcrumbs just elevates everything – the smell coming from your kitchen will make you want to dive into the pot of pasta immediately. These are basic ingredients that let the tomatoes shine – try it and you’ll make it over and over again.
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino (or, if you don't have this, just more Parmigiano)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound dried penne or spaghetti
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with one-third of the oil. Place the tomatoes cut side up in the dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheeses, and garlic 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. 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.
- When the tomatoes are done, add the basil and stir vigorously to mix everything into a sauce. Drain the pasta and immediately transfer it to the baking dish. Add the remaining olive oil and mix well. SERVE AT ONCE.
To cut a large amount of cherry tomatoes fast: Place a bunch of them on a large Tupperware lid, cover with a second lid, hold down and slice with a large knife from the side all the way through. You'll be done in no time.