Food snobs have any number of coveted spectacular ingredients where the premium price reflect the reputation. Sun-dried tomatoes are such an item. While the concept of preserving tomatoes by drying in the sun and then soaking in olive oil sounds tasty, the chewy texture does not please my palate. Even with such a skeptical perspective on the key ingredient, I was pleased when Cat of Delta Whiskey chose Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes for the first July Barefoot Bloggers recipe.
Substituting oven roasted grape tomatoes mimicked the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes while creating a more pleasant texture with a price that fit my budget.
This recipe was a winner and is an excellent addition to any summer dinning table. The flavors were rich while still light for summer, with a bit of tang. Below is my adaptation, for the original recipe visit The Food Network or buy Barefoot Contessa Family Style.
Pasta with Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style pg. 58
1/2 pound Gemili pasta
1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced (half-pint grape tomatoes)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
For the oven roasted tomatoes:
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved long wise and seeded
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of sugar
For the dressing:
Oven roasted grape tomatoes
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes and mozzarella.
For the oven-roasted tomatoes: pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine, sliced tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on sheet pan and sprinkle with sugar. Cook for 30-40 minutes until almost burnt. For the dressing, combine the oven-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, olives, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and parsley, and toss well.