Slow Roasted Pasta Pomodoro
Updated: Jul 2, 2022
I make this dish once or twice a month. It might seem labor-intensive, but it isn't; it's just time-intensive. The actual labor might be 15 minutes at most.
I have made this with Roma, cherry, garden, and almost any tomato grown. In my opinion, the best approach is a mixture of Roma and some kind of cherry tomato. Romas will give this sauce a good base, and the cherry tomatoes give it a strong tomato flavor (for why see Kenji's explanation of why that Tik-Tok recipe is so good). I tend to favor balsamic vinegar for this recipe for added sweetness, but wine works well, too. Remember that if you use the average grocery store balsamic, you may need to add sugar if it is very acidic (see Bon Appetit's excellent Balsamic recommendations here).
Regardless of what variations you choose, this is comfort food at its finest. If you don't plan to serve it to guests, keep the sauce separate and then cook the noodles and combine just before serving. The sauce keeps very well in the fridge, so I often make a whole batch for quick weeknight meals.
1 package of Roma, Gem Garden or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 garlic bulb or 1 tsp granulated garlic + 1 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped fine
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 package of tagliatelle, cooked, 2 tbsp pasta water reserved
2-3 tbsp Fresh Basil
shaved Parmesan Reggiano (optional)
Preheat oven to 250. Arrange tomatoes and onions in a deep fry pan, cut side up. Using a spoon drizzle each half (including onion) with a little bit of wine or balsamic vinegar, then with oil. It's ok if it spills onto the pan. Sprinkle with oregano, then salt, and then garlic (if using granulated), ensuring a little is on each tomato half. Be careful with the oregano if you are substituting fresh! Fresh oregano is very strong and can overpower the dish - use very sparingly in this step, you can always add more at the end if you want. If you are using a whole garlic bulb set it in the pan, stem side up. Roast pan for 3 hours. Remove pan from oven, remove garlic bulb, and set it on the stove. Turn on the burner to low heat.
While the burner is heating, remove the garlic cloves from their skin and chop fine. It may turn to mush - this is ok. If you did not roast a whole bulb, push the tomatoes to the side of the pan, add a bit of oil, and sauté the chopped fresh garlic. Otherwise, add the roasted garlic to the pan in batches to taste, starting with half the garlic.
Add 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil. In the pan, chop the tomato with a knife and fork until diced. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta water and a pinch or two of salt to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blended, about 5 minutes. Add pasta and stir well, cooking and stirring until blended, another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Garnish with parmesan and additional basil, if desired.