2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
3T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
salt & pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1lb fresh or dried pasta
extra Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 300º F.
2. Line a baking sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side up on the sheet pan. Place in the oven and roast for about 1½ -2 hours, or until they are slightly dry, caramelized and shriveled. Set aside.
3. In a large pot of boiling water, add 1T of salt, return the water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook as directed; until al dente.
4. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, and then add the onion and sauté 3-4 minutes, until slightly soft. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes, and cook until they are warmed. Season with salt, pepper. Set aside.
6. Drain the cooked pasta. Reserve 1½ cups of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with 1 cup of the cooking water
7. Add the tomatoes, basil, and cheese and toss until well coated. If the paste seems a little dry add the remaining cooking pasta liquid.
8. Serve immediately with extra cheese.
TIPS & TRICKS
• The tomatoes can be made days ahead and stored in an airtight container. I like to make a double batch so that I can use 1 for the recipe and one for bruschetta. I take toasted sliced bread top it with a little ricotta, the caramelized tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh basil. Now you have a fantastic appetizer!
• Chiffonade is a French word that means to cut into rags. To do this stack the basil leaves on top of each other, and then roll into a cigar shape tube. Use a knife slice crosswise across the basil into thin strips that look like ribbons, rags, or thin strips.
• Buy a wedge of Parmigiano- Reggiano and grate it at home! The flavor is so superior then any pre-grated cheese. Cut the cheese into 1- 2 inch squares. Place them in your food processor or blender. Blend until ground. Store in an airtight container. Save the rind of the cheese and add it to your vegetable soups, tomato sauces, cooked bean or lentil dishes. It adds an excellent flavor and a complexity to the dish. Just remove it before serving. They freeze wonderfully.