The tomatoes in the garden are only 20 inches high. It’s been a long, cold spring. Will summer ever come?
I can have summer in my mind—dreaming of my favorite dinner —for one of those August evenings when nothing sounds better than a little pasta and a glass of red wine.
Fettuccine with Roasted Tomatoes is simple enough for a hot night when I’m not the least bit ambitious about dinner menus, and special enough to share with company. It’s also perfect for garlic lovers! The basil deepens the flavor and vinegar adds a splash of pizzazz!!
Tomatoes have a whole new taste dimension when roasted. Most people don’t want to fire up the grill to just roast tomatoes, so perhaps do this task after cooking something the night before, or add tomatoes to the edges of the grill when other foods are cooking.
Yellow varieties are great, if available. When roasted they become almost jam-like in texture. They are actually less acidic for those of us with tender stomachs.
You could also make this dish with any variety of Roma-type tomatoes. The beefsteak varieties don’t work as well on the grill as they are a little too watery. A better choice might be an ‘Early Girl’ or ‘Celebrity’.
If your local delicatessen offers fresh pasta, that’s great too!!!
Twelve ounces of fettuccine or other thin noodle
Six medium-sized whole tomatoes
One quarter cup best quality olive oil
Two to eight cloves garlic, minced (according to your passion for garlic)
One-quarter cup finely diced fresh basil (more to taste)
One tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Boil noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Pre-heat a gas grill or build a fire in a kettle grill. You could also throw a sprig or two of rosemary or oregano onto the coals. Add whole tomatoes to the edges of the grill (where it’s not quite as hot). Turn gently with tongs so that they char evenly trying not to break the skin. Remove and set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan sauté garlic in olive oil and add the basil.
When tomatoes are cool enough to touch, slip the skins off. Add tomatoes to the pan and mash with a potato masher.
Add the balsamic vinegar, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes to blend flavors.
Serve with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 2 to 3 servings.