The abundance of late-summer tomatoes is a mixed blessing. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy them in massive quantities, but there’s also the sad realization the supply won’t last. If you are not up to the task of canning your surplus, is there anything you can you do to preserve your garden’s tomato bounty for a snowy day?
The simplest and most flavorful solution is oven roasting. Slice your extra tomatoes in half and place them, cut-sides up, on a wire rack set on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake. I’ve seen recipes that call for roasting at 225 degrees for 3 hours, and others that specify 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Any temperature will work. Just keep an eye on your tomatoes and pull them out when they are shriveled but not completely dry.
This method works best on tomatoes without a lot of seeds and juice. Plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are both good choices. Oven-roasted tomatoes will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days and can be frozen for up to six months. Roast some today and you can enjoy them in the dark days of February.
Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes and Anchovy-Garlic Breadcrumbs
2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups stale country bread or baguette, torn into pieces
4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Place the tomatoes on the rack, cut-sides up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and thyme leaves. Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled but still a little juicy, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil and the garlic in a small skillet over medium-low heat until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Combine bread and anchovies in the workbowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and add the breadcrumb mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, and set aside.
Drain pasta, leaving some water clinging to it. Return pasta to pot and toss with tomatoes and garlic oil. Season with salt. Divide among pasta bowls, sprinkle each portion with breadcrumbs, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.