” There is no technique, there is just the way to do it. Now, are we going to measure or are we going to cook?”
Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun
I traveled to Tuscany today and did not leave my kitchen. Cherry tomatoes still on the vine and a big bunch of fresh basil all harvested from a generous friend’s garden held the promise of a simple Italian lunch.
I roasted the tomatoes, stems and all, at high temperature with a generous splash of olive oil and 3 diced shallots for 10 minutes, just until they burst and released their juices. About half way through, I added 1/4 cup of pignoli nuts and 2 large cloves of garlic, minced. While the house filled with the tantalizing aroma, I boiled 8 ounces of pasta. I drained the pasta and placed it in a large, shallow bowl. I then threw on the roasted tomatoes, shallots, pignoli and all the precious cooking juices. The juices and olive oil were all the “sauce” for this dish. I then tossed in a big handful of fresh basil and another of shaved pecorino, a few turns of the pepper mill and we were transported to the Tuscan countryside. So simply delizioso and ready in 15 minutes.
Roasted Tomato and Shallot Summer Pasta
8 oz of pasta of your choice
3 cups of cherry tomatoes, left whole
3 shallots, coarsely diced
1/4 c pine nuts
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh basil leaves
shaved pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F. On a lined sheet pan, spread your tomatoes and add a generous glug of olive oil. Toss with the shallots and roast for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the pine nuts and garlic. When the tomatoes are cooked, add a sprinkle of sea salt. Meanwhile cook pasta al dente. Drain pasta and top with the tomatoes, shallots, garlic and pine nut mixture and all the cooking juices. Sprinkle with torn fresh basil leaves and the pecorino and some fresh ground pepper.
“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.”