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!
One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple puréed 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 Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!
I will admit that I was not a big fan of brussels sprouts as a kid but now that I’ve discovered pan-roasting I’m seriously hooked on them. This easy method is by far my favourite way to cook them. They’re so durable that you can easily caramelize them as they cook through. In this recipe they’re deliciously joined by bright orange and crunchy cashews.