Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Baked Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

I had a great class last night with some familiar faces and some new ones. We made a plum galette, peach turnovers and pizza margarita. (The class was all about dough!) I also told a friend I would post a simple recipe here for him to try...so this is it:

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or rosemary, minced
1 lb pasta shells or rotini (something short, and hollow to catch the sauce)
1 ¼ cup mascarpone cheese (if unavailable try ricotta cheese)

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
pinch of cayenne pepper
coarse salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C

Line a large shallow sheet pan with aluminum foil. Butter the foil lightly.

Arrange tomatoes in a single layer, cut sides up, on the sheet pan, drizzle the olive oil over them and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast until slightly plumped, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the mascarpone cheese to the pasta and stir until melted. Add back the reserved cooking water, tomatoes, half the parmesan, 3 tablespoons chives, cayenne, salt and pepper and toss well, then allow the mixture to cool to until warm.

Butter a 3-quart (13- by 9-inch) shallow baking dish and add the pasta mixture. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over top. Bake uncovered until golden and bubbly, 18 to 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of chives.

Serves six

The pasta can be prepared, but not baked, 3 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature. It can also be eaten right from the pan, and not baked.

ADDITIONS: 1 oz soft goat cheese, 4 oz. chopped ham, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, or 4 oz. sautéed baby shrimp.

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