You haven’t lived until you’ve slow roasted a tomato. This simple method unlocks the deepest possible flavour from just about any tomato. A long slow roast surrounded by lots of aromatic flavours easily melts whole baby tomatoes into a tasty sauce for your favourite pasta that more than fills Half Your Plate!
Yield: SERVES 4 TO 6
2 pounds of grape tomatoes
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 or 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 mL) of olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of dried oregano, thyme, or rosemary
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 pound of your favourite pasta
1 small 5-ounce tote of baby spinach, arugula, chard or kale
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and turn on your convection fan if you have one.
Toss the tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper together. Pile the works into a 9×13 baking dish and roast, stirring every 20 minutes or so until deliciously caramelized and fragrant, about an hour.
Towards the end of the hour, cook off a box of your favourite pasta in lots of boiling salted water. Drain well. Immediately toss the baby spinach into the pot then cover with the steaming hot noodles. Top the works with the fresh-from-the-oven roast tomato sauce. Gently stir everything together until the spinach wilts.
© Chef Michael Smith – #HalfYourPlate
How To Twist
Fennel fan? Drop the oregano and add lots of fennel seeds. Really, really a fennel fan? Add a head of sliced fennel along with the fennel seeds.
Fennel fanatic? Add 4 or 5 sliced Italian sausages to the works. They’re flavoured with – you guessed it – fennel seeds!
When I toss romaine hearts into my shopping cart, chances are I’m heading home to make my family’s favourite salad. Every cook should know the joy of crafting a true Caesar salad while avoiding the also-ran dressings at the supermarket that never quite measure up to the real thing. Over time we’ve experimented with lots of additional flavours in this salad but, more often than not, I toss in lots of fresh basil leaves and brightly flavoured cherry tomatoes. What a great way to fill Half Your Plate!
One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple pureed soup. They’re a time-honoured and super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry – maybe even hide vegetables from finicky eaters. This one was custom created by the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!