Serves 2, takes 1 hour
Okay listen. I’ve had dozens of conversations across the span of my life with people who had been to Italy and who — quite snobbishly, if you ask me — told me that Real Italian Pasta™ is made up of only a few ingredients. I’ve always known they were right. I’ve also seen this principle used and abused more than I care to remember.
“Less Is More” in cooking is dangerous in the hands of the wrong cook. You know the one. The “I Don’t Need A Recipe I’ve Been Cooking For Half A Century” cook (my mother). The “I’m a Vegetarian and I Keep Things Simply Simple” cook. This recipe is a wonderful reminder that, with cooking, the devil is in the details.
- 1.5 kg of roma (!) tomatoes
- 3 garlic bulbs (yes)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil for tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil for pasta
- Heat the oven to 200°C
- Cut the head (where the clove is attached to the bulb) off all garlic cloves, leaving on the rest of the skin
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper so that it sticks up against the walls of the baking sheet (this is needed to keep all the moisture in)
- Add the roma tomatoes to the baking sheet, pushing them all to one side
- Spread individual garlic bulbs across the tomatoes
- Sprinkle tomatoes and garlic cloves evenly with olive oil
- Spread tomatoes and garlic cloves evenly across the sheet (if you don’t, the tomatoes will steam and not roast)
- Sprinkle with salt and sugar
- Roast for 20 minutes
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil
- After 20 minutes, check and toss, making sure you don’t let any liquid spill over the edges of the parchment paper
- Roast tomatoes and garlic for another 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes and garlic look like they’re about to burn
- Add salt to boiling water
- Add pasta and cook for the specified time
- Once tomatoes and garlic look like they’re about to burn, take the baking sheet out of the oven
- With each individual garlic clove, take the clove and squeeze its butt so that the contents will fall out. Add contents to a separate bowl. Once you’ve handled all of them, add naked cloves back to the tomatoes.
- Drain the pasta in a colander, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and toss to prevent sticking. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Taking three parchment paper corners in one hand, create a little shoot with the remaining corner, and transfer the entire contents of the baking sheet to the bowl with pasta
- Toss, toss, toss, toss, toss
- Add some micro basil leaves and parmezzan
- Serve immediately