Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Baked tomato pasta

I've talked before about how tomato pasta was my first bought recipe that I tried out. Good Housekeeping gave me my point in that direction. This version is a grown up version of that same recipe. 

Much like where you started using a handbag at 16, it's just a rucksack really but it's your handbag - housing (in my case) a Body Shop cherry lipbalm, emergency bar of chocolate, purse and front door keys, and a copy of the Musicals magazine that had the tape of that month's musical on the front. I was a classy teen. Please note the absence of a mobile phone. Yes, I'm that old. These days, in amongst the detritus of scrumpled receipts, business cards and the odd Guide badge are still keys and a purse, a tube of Lanolips 101 balm, my iPhone, Kindle, packet of tissues, lipstick, rescue remedy, migraine stick, hand cream and medications. The musicals are now uploaded to the iPhone. Some things never change. 

Much the same as the contents of my handbag have grown up with me, so have some of my recipes. This is one such example.

Baked Tomato Pasta 

Olive Oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, whole, unpeeled
2 tins of tomatoes (a good Italian brand)
500ml good red wine - something you would enjoy drinking. You're going to intensify the flavour so it needs to start off well
Oregano - fresh if it's the summer, dried in the winter
Mozzarella - this can be basics range as you're going to bake it

Pasta - I bake this normally with penne, but used conchigle this week as that's what I had

You'll also need a casserole dish with a lid

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Start by putting your casserole dish on the hob on a medium heat 
Pour a good few tablespoons of Olive oil into your casserole and add your garlic
Open the tins of tomatoes and using a sieve drain the water from them as much as possible
Add the tomatoes to the casserole, and then add in the wine
If you're using dried oregano add it now
Put the lid on the casserole as the ingredients just start to bubble and put it in the oven. Leave it for an hour

After an hour, take the casserole out, and fish out each clove of garlic. Squish out the now soft garlic which will have cooked to an amazingly sweet sludge(I cant think of another word) and stir those into the sauce
Put the lid back on and put the casserole back in for about half an hour
Chop the mozzarella roughly into a large dice
Cook your pasta for about half the stated time, then drain it and take your sauce out, add the pasta, stirring the sauce in so it's well coated. Add the mozarella, keeping about half to one side. If you're using fresh oregano add it now.
Don't put the lid back on, but put the casserole back in the oven for another half an hour
Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and serve, if you're feeling it, garlic bread is in equal measures trashy and fabulous here. 
You should probably serve this with the rest of the wine. I'm not a big red wine drinker so I don't, I freeze the leftover red wine to add to my next casserole. Just call me Miss thrifty.

This is an amazing, beautifully slow cooked dish. Perfect for a chilly Sunday in February, warming and hearty. Yet for some reason with the fragrant fresh oregano, and the mozzarella all stirred in at the last minute, served in the garden on a summer's evening with a crisp glass of white wine it doesn't feel at all unseasonal. Perhaps this is a trans-seasonal recipe? Is there such a thing?

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Lovely recipe, thanks for sharing.


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