Macaroni with Roasted Tomatoes
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, February 15th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Old-Fashioned recipe too good to be forgotten…
I love old-fashioned recipes that have been made and enjoyed for years and years. Whenever I get a recipe like that, I always try to imagine how and why the recipe was developed. Who thought of adding tomatoes to macaroni? Who thought of adding some white sugar? Who put these flavor combinations together – and why? I always find it absolutely fascinating how a recipe comes together. There are a lot of times when I ask myself these same questions when I’m recipe developing. Believe me – there are times when the created recipe doesn’t work (salted caramel brownies with too much salt, peanut butter cookies with white chocolate chips that turned into “brick bats” as I was told are just two personal examples). This flavor combination though of buttery macaroni with sweet and rich tomatoes is perfect.
This recipe was inspired by the original recipe handed down to me by my mom, Darla – who was given the recipe by her mom, Deloris – who was given the recipe by her mom, Viola. I’ve updated the recipe by adding roasted tomatoes, a little extra butter and a trick using the water that the pasta has cooked in. I find that cherry tomatoes work best for this recipe because I think they have an overall better flavor than the grape tomato variety. I have also found the smaller the cherry tomato – the sweeter the flavor. Grape tomatoes will work, in a pinch, but I’ve found that they have a thicker skin and are not as sweet. Serve this as a side at your next dinner and watch it disappear fast – and be prepared to share the recipe…
Macaroni with Roasted Tomatoes
This old-fashioned recipe will be welcome at any dinner table. It makes the perfect side dish and can be served hot, room temperature or even chilled. You can substitute the 2 cups of cherry tomatoes for a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes if desired. You can also add fresh basil to this recipe, or crumbled up cooked bacon. Taking out some of the pasta water before draining is essential in not only adding flavor to the finished dish, but allowing it to thicken slightly as it cooks and all comes together. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated in a covered container for up to three days.
4 cups macaroni noodles
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
½ – ¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup reserved pasta water
Start by tossing the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and black pepper on a sheet pan and placing into a preheated 400 degree F oven for 18 minutes.
Next, make the macaroni according to the package directions for “al dente” (which means it will still have a firm bite when bitten). Make sure when the water is boiling, and right before adding the pasta, that you salt the water heavily. This is really your only chance of flavoring the pasta itself. (Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water).
After the pasta is cooked and right before draining, carefully reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and set aside to add later.
Return the pasta to the pot (over medium heat) and add the butter and roasted tomatoes. Stir together and allow the butter to melt and coat the pasta.
Next, add the white granulated sugar (start with ½ cup and add more to your taste) and then slowly stir in the reserved pasta water.
Continuing stirring over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and serve.