I'm one of those wierd people that likes any tomato-based product, such as ketchup or marinara sauce, but absolutely detests fresh tomatoes. If I could change this, I would but, for now, it looks like this will remain the one area where I am really picky about what I eat. In this recipe, although the tomatoes are seasoned with nothing more than salt and olive oil, the slow roasting in the oven transforms them into something even a tomato-hater like me can love. I like to think of them as tomato candy. Be sure to use good tomatoes at the height of their season, preferably from a farmer's market or friend's garden. A touch of fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese are all that is needed to round out this succulent pasta dish. For a very pretty touch, use a combination of red and yellow tomatoes.
Penne con Pomodori Arrosto
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Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chilled Pinot Grigio


2 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound penne
about 1 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper
6 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place, cut side up, in a single layer on the baking sheets. Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and evenly sprinkle on the salt. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes are slightly crinkly and dried around the edges but still moist (about 2 hours.)

Cook the penne in salted boiling water as directed on the package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta well. Transfer the pasta to a large, pre-warmed serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, reserved cooking liquid and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with the crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings



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As someone who can't stand fresh tomatoes, I am happy to report that cooked tomatoes are actually healthier for you! Tomatoes are one of the best sources of the cancer-fighting carotenoid known as lycopene. As they cook, the water evaporates out of the tomatoes and they become more concentrated. A cup of cooked tomatoes, in the form of sauce or paste, is a far more concentrated source of lycopene than a cup of fresh tomatoes. And your body more easily absorbs lycopene from cooked or processed tomatoes.

Be sure to buy organic tomatoes that are in season to get the most flavor out of this dish. And never refrigerate tomatoes as this will cause them to both lose their flavor and attain a mealy texture.

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