Fusilli col Sugo dei Pomodori al Forno

Fusilli with Baked Tomatoes and Hot Pepper

Every family must have, among the dishes it cooks, some whose taste touches a chord of special satisfaction, some they never tire of making. In our family, one such dish is the tomatoes baked with garlic, olive oil, and parsley, whose recipe I first gave in The Classic Italian Cook Book (page 389). In summer we have them together with fried eggplant, at other times we eat them with breaded veal cutlets, with boiled beef, or we make a dish of them alone, with thick slices of crusty bread. When I make them, I make a lot.

Once, when I had some left over from the previous day, I was at a loss to satisfy my husband’s and son’s yearning for a different-tasting pasta. Then I remembered the tomatoes in the refrigerator. I mashed them through a food mill, added a trickle of olive oil and a little hot pepper, and I had a marvelous new tomato sauce that tasted unlike any other.

If you have never before had these tomatoes and would like to try them on their own, stop at the end of step 2 in this recipe. They can be served hot, but are tastiest at room temperature.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound fusilli
  • Hot red pepper to taste

Method

  1. Turn on the oven to 400°.
  2. Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half across their width. Place them cut side up in a baking dish where they will fit snugly. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garlic, add salt and several grindings of pepper, and pour ¼ cup of the olive oil over them. Place in the uppermost rack of the preheated oven. Bake for about 1½ hours until they become shrunken and their skins are partly blackened.
  3. Fit the disk with medium-size holes in a food mill. Remove the tomatoes from the baking dish, leaving behind all the cooked oil, and purée them through the mill.
  4. Drop the pasta into a pot of abundant boiling salted water and cook until it is barely tender but firm to the bite. Drain and toss immediately with the pureed tomatoes. Add the remaining ¼ cup of raw olive oil and crumbled hot red pepper to taste, toss again, and serve.

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