Okay, it’s never going to win any awards for beauty, but the simple, fresh flavours unleashed by a little bit of roasting and a little bit of melting are just divine.
Once the tomatoes are roasted it takes ten minutes to make, and probably just ten minutes to eat, no matter how much you try and savour it…
RECIPE – feeds 4
8 large, ripe tomatoes (or a larger number of various sizes), halved
4 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400g penne pasta
200g firm goat’s cheese, rind on
a handful of basil leaves, shredded
Heat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ gas 6.
Halve the tomatoes and lay them together, cut side up, in a small roasting tin. Push the whole garlic cloves into the gaps between the tomatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil, scatter salt and pepper over the top, followed by the dried marjoram and then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Roast in the oven for between 40 and 60 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and slightly charred.
When the tomatoes are just about done, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water at a strong rolling boil, for the time specified on the packet (approximately ten minutes).
Meanwhile, remove the garlic from the roasting tin and squeeze the roasted pulp from the skin back into the tomatoes. Roughly mash the tomatoes and garlic and check the seasoning.
When the pasta is just al dente, drain it. Pour the tomato and garlic mixture from the roasting tin into the pasta pan, ensuring you scrape absolutely everything out of the roasting tin – it is all flavour. Tip the drained pasta back into the pan, cut the goat’s cheese in half lengthways, then into thin slices and add to the p[an with the shredded basil leaves. Put the pan over a medium heat, tossing and stirring thoroughly until the cheese is melted, the basil has wilted and everything is coated in everything else.
Serve in bowls with a simple green salad dressed with a quick and simple mustard vinaigrette:
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
a small pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
Whisk it all together in the bottom of your salad bowl, drop the salad over it, and when you are ready to eat just toss everything together.
Here’s another quick tip: refresh your salad vegetables and leaves and make them extra crunchy by sitting them in iced water for 30 minutes, then pat them dry before dressing them.