Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Garlic Puttanesca | April 6, 2011

Unfortunately, our last Week in a Day dinner was our least favorite of the bunch – so much for going out with a bang!  This recipe had all of the makings of a successful pasta dinner, but it just seemed to fall flat.  The tomatoes and garlic smelled amazing while they were roasting, but once they were blended into the sauce, they lost their depth.  I thought that serving this dish last would allow all of the flavors to stew and mesh and intensify, but I think the opposite happened – so, maybe if you eat the sauce right away it will live up to its promise!  If someone tries that, please let me know how it turns out.

As far as the experiment as a whole, I was really pleased with the results.  I was able to spend more time with my hubby and critters while still putting satisfying, home-cooked meals on the table.  We didn’t eat out for the whole week.  We even wound up with leftovers (bolognese and lentil soup) in the freezer for a proverbial rainy day.  I will definitely continue to watch the show, and I hope she throws more menus out there that will work for our tastes.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 12 to 14 large Roma or plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured olives, loosely packed
  • 6 flat filets anchovies
  • 3 tablespoons drained Capote capers or stemmed caperberries
  • 1 small Fresno chile or Italian red cherry pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound penne or bucatini
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Arrange a cooling rack over a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet for easy clean up.  Cut the ends off the entire head garlic to expose all of the cloves. Season the garlic with a little salt, some black pepper, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, then wrap in foil.  Cut the tomatoes in 1/2 and place in a bowl. Lightly dress the tomatoes by drizzling with extra-virgin olive oil. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and marjoram, and arrange on the baking sheet cut-side down. Bake the tomatoes 20 to 25 minutes, then flip the tomatoes, and roast 20 minutes more. Roast the garlic 45 to 50 minutes alongside the tomatoes.  Place about 2/3 of the tomatoes in a food processor. Coarsely chop the remainder of the tomatoes, and reserve. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin, and add to the food processor pulsing until smooth. Add the mixture to a Dutch oven and add the olives, anchovies, capers, and chile. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Transfer to a small container for a make-ahead meal and refrigerate, or transfer to a serving bowl. Store the chopped tomatoes separately, or add to the serving bowl.  To serve, bring water to a boil, salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reheat the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce for 1 minute, to coat. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of parsley, and drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil.

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