The first few tomatoes off the vine taste like no other tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes ripened first, and never made it to the kitchen. They are garden snacks, devoured as they are picked. Newly ripe plum tomatoes and tender slicers transform salads or sandwiches into something wonderful. Then comes the day when enough tomatoes ripen all at one time to become the main dinner event.
It happened this week. I picked all the ripe tomatoes I could find, (nipped off a stem with a huge hornworm attached, which I tossed to the chickens) and took the tomatoes to the kitchen. I sliced the whole lot. Meanwhile, four sliced onions roasted in olive oil until they were soft and golden. I added the tomatoes to them along with garlic and let them wilt in the oven for about the same amount of time as it took to boil a pound of pasta. They practically melted into the onions.
After I drained the pasta, I tossed the tomatoes and onions into it, added finely chopped basil and parsley with grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. That was it.
Because the tomatoes cooked for no longer than ten minutes, they kept their fresh tomato flavor. Such a treat. And only a half hour to get the job done.
As is, this is an all-vegetable dish. Serve it alone with a green salad, or for a more substantial meal, alongside some grilled Italian sausage.
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Onions
4 medium onions, sliced about ¼ inch thick
2-3 cups sliced fresh tomatoes
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Handful of fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of spaghetti, or your preferred pasta
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and put a pot of water on to boil for pasta.
Spread the onions in a roasting pan and add olive oil to coat them generously. Put them in the oven for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the onions are softened and golden, add the pasta to the boiling water and the tomatoes and garlic to the onions and return them to the oven, reducing the temperature to 375.
After about another ten minutes, or when the pasta is cooked, take the roasting pan out of the oven, add the basil and parsley, Parmesan to taste and salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and toss it together with the roasted vegetables and serve with additional Parmesan if desired.