Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cherry Tomato Penne al Arrabbiata

Confession time ... I haven't made dinner for myself in five days!  Tuesday I had a craving for sushi, Wednesday I needed comfort food (aka baguette and cheese), Thursday was a planned sushi night, Friday was junk food (poutine and nachos) and hockey, and Saturday turned into cheeseburger and root beer float at a cute little diner in Vermont.  I would say I'm slightly overdue for some healthier cooking!

I took a trip to Jean Talon market today and even though the main part still isn't open yet, I was like a kid in a candy store marveling over the selection of fresh tomatoes, bundles of asparagus, and fresh fruit.  I even made a special trip to wander across St. Laurent to pick up some delicious pasta from Milano's. 

I wasn't sure what type of chiles to use in this dish, so I opted for chiles de arbol.  Instead of canned puree of tomatoes, I pureed some of the extra cherry tomatoes that I had on hand.  I also didn't have time to slow roast the tomatoes for 6 - 7 hours, so I upped the heat in the oven a little bit and compressed the time.  The sweetness of the roasted cherry tomatoes contrasted beautifully with the heat of the chiles.  The best part of this meal though? Nothing came from a can and I could snack on the cherry tomatoes while waiting for them to roast ... yummy!

Cherry Tomato Penne al Arrabbiata (from Palachinka)

100 g penne pasta
500 g cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2-3 dried chile peppers (I went with 3 chiles de arbol)
3/4 cup tomato puree (I just blitzed some cherry tomatoes in the blender)
olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley leaves

1. Cut tomatoes in halves. Line large oven pan with baking paper and place tomatoes on it, cut side up. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Dry in a preheated oven on 100°C for 6-7 hours. This can be done a day in advance.  (I set the oven to 300F and cooked them for 1.5 hours and they were perfect.)
2. Cook pasta al dente and drain.
3. Fry sliced garlic and chopped chiles on 1 Tbsp olive oil until it browns a bit.
4. Add pasta and tomato puree and fry for a minute or two.
5. Stir in tomatoes and parsley and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

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