I am living in tomato heaven, thanks to the plethora of perfectly ripe tomatoes from Kawamata Farms here on the Big Island. Sweet, juicy, consistently fresh and delicious. For a girl who eats a tomato like an apple, it truly doesn’t get any better. We had some baby grape tomatoes that the Farm was growing just for their own enjoyment that I was thrilled to get my hands on as these super sweet babies made the perfect base for this fresh, summertime pasta, pairing with a stellar, well aged Chianti Classico Sangiovese. I was transported to Italy, yet still got to look at the ocean in Hawaii.
Summer Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes
2 1/2 pounds of grape tomatoes (or however much you have or would like, the more the better), sliced in half lengthwise1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
2 cups red wine (optional)
1 pound penne pasta, or your favorite pasta shape
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil + more for garnish
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. (I slow roasted these babies all day, but also quick roasted a few for the hummus I made for the dinner party. The quick roasted ones were delicious, but didn’t get quite as sweet and concentrated. If you have the time to slow roast them, do, if not the quick roasted ones at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes will work.) Lay the tomatoes, flesh side up, on a foil covered baking sheet (about 9×12) and drizzle with olive oil to cover, but not soak. Season generously (about 1/2 tablespoon) with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 garlic clove over the top of the tomatoes and place in the oven for at least 2-3 hours, checking every now and then. You want them to shrivel slightly, concentrating the juices. Turn the baking sheet halfway through if your oven is like mine and the back tends to be hotter than the front. About 30 minutes prior to when you would like to eat add the red wine to a pot along with 4 cups of water. This is to cook your pasta in. If you don’t want to include the red wine, don’t, but it added an additional layer of flavor and richness. Season the water generously with salt (2 tablespoons) and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a low boil.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a deep skillet or wok and place over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and zucchini. You could also include mushrooms, yellow squash, fennel, peppers, any of your favorite summer veggies. Saute for about 5 minutes then add in the red pepper flakes, season with 1/2 teaspoon eat salt and pepper and add the wine. Reduce the wine by half. Though the tomatoes aren’t done roasted, scoop about 1/3 of them off of your baking sheet and add to the sauce. Stir to combine. Add the capers. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the flavors meld together. Drop the pasta in the boiling water 10 minutes prior to the time you are ready to eat. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Scoop out 1 – 2 cups of pasta water after the pasta has cooked and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add about a cup of the water, stirring to combine. You want the sauce to be rich, and textured but not soupy. If you need a bit more water, add it, but don’t over do. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and pour them into the sauce (directly from the sheet tray to include the olive oil and garlic.) Stir to combine. Add in half of the cheese, the basil and parsley. Stir to combine and pour into a large serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining cheese and a bit of extra basil.