Spicy Fusilli with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Shallots, Pecorino, and Breadcrumbs

Let’s be honest – we are not in peak tomato season, and the tomatoes right now are quite blah. But by slow roasting tomatoes in an oven, even the most out-of-season tomatoes build flavor and become sweet. This is my favorite way of making a tomato sauce when buying tomatoes out of season. Toss it with some pasta, some shallots, a hint of anchovy, chili flakes, pecorino romano cheese, and breadcrumbs, and you’ve got un pasto delizioso!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes, quartered (or mix regular and cherry tomatoes, halved, like I did )
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, halved, skin on
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 lb fusilli or other pasta
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
  • red pepper chili flakes, to taste
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (optional)
  • handful parsley (optional, for garnish and added flavor)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (or Parmesan)

Recipe:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2: Place tomatoes, cut side up, garlic cloves, and oregano in a large rectangular baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and add 1 cup of olive oil. Once oven has preheated, place the tomatoes in the oven for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes look dried out.

Step 3: While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a medium sized pan over medium heat with two tbsp of olive oil. Add the shallots, and saute until the shallots are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 7 min. Add the anchovy fillets, and stir until anchovy melts into shallots. Add the tomato paste to shallots, and cook for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Turn down the heat to low.

Step 4: Once the tomatoes have finished roasting, add them to the pan. Take the garlic cloves out of their skins, and add them as well. Crush the tomatoes and garlic cloves. Add chili flakes to taste.

Step 5: Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water and 1 tbsp of salt to a boil. Cook pasta according to package al dente instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Step 6: Add cooked pasta to the pan with tomatoes, and thin out the tomato sauce with the reserved pasta water until a sauce is formed (start out with a little pasta water, and add gradually – I find about 1/2 a cup will do the trick).

Step 7: If using breadcrumbs, toss them with a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they turn a deep golden brown.

Step 8: Top pasta with breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and parsley (if using).

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