Now that our larger heirlooms tomatoes have started to ripen and come in, our bounty of cherry and grape varieties have started to stock pile.
Last night, I decided to roast and serve them over pasta. This really is an easy recipe. Really. Trust me. I purposely chose to take it a tiny bit farther. Beyond the senseless silliness of self indulgence, the recipe was basically roasted tomatoes and peppers over pasta; and that would be fantastic with good quality al dente pasta punching through soft sweet roasted vegetables.
I enjoy making pasta. Period. It just feels right to do so, especially when dealing with other great ingredients. I made ricotta cheese, fennel, and parmesan filled ravioli to serve with fresh roasted farmers' market cubanelle peppers, green bell peppers, and our container grown tomatoes.
I made the egg pasta, rolled it through a pasta machine into sheets, , dotted the sheets with filling, topped the filling with a second sheet of pasta, cut it into ravioli, and set it aside to rest.
I halved the grape/cherry tomatoes, sliced the peppers, tossed them with sliced garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper, and roasted them at 350 for 30 minutes until caramelized, sweet, and tender.
While they roasted, I made meatballs with ground chuck, egg, minced parsley, grated onion, bread crumbs, and water for moisture. I rolled them into golf ball sized balls, drizzled them with olive oil, and braised them along side the vegetables until just barely cooked. When firm, yet underdone, I droppped them into a sauce pan to simmer in a tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce.
When it was time to eat, I boiled the ravioli in heavily salted water until they floated to the top. They tell you when they are are done. They float.
While the ravioli cooked, I combined the tomatoes and peppers, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil, and set them aside. I spotted an over-ripe heirloom tomato perched on the window sill, and in a blaze of self ordained genius, split it in half and squeezed it over the roasted vegetables to brighten them with a burst of freshness. The added tomato juice mingled with the oil to create a warm sweet tomato vinaigrette sauce. Brilliant!.
I plated the pasta, spooned over the sauce, and topped it with fresh torn basil. I placed the meatball garnish to the side with freshly cut chives for a mild onion finish.
With my last remaining nub of parmesan reggiano, I bathed it with finely grated cheese.
It was shockingly good. Fresh. Deep. Sweet. Soft.
The pasta was so light. Like eating air. Fennel-flecked cheese air pillows. The caramelized tomatoes and peppers were perfectly broken down and sweet. Their concentrated sweetness resembled savory vegetable jam while still retaining a beautiful freshness. When sliced, the creamy insides of the ravioli oozed onto the plate and swirled around the transparent tomato sauce. The meatballs were incredibly moist and highly seasoned. A hardy, yet light garnish .When all the textures and flavors melded together, it tasted like ridiculously fresh lasagna. A light deconstructed lasagna.
While I try not to cook with our fresh homegrown tomatoes, sometimes I do what I have to do.
Or want to do. Got 'em? For super concentrated sweet tomato flavor, roast them.