The other night I made an impromptu pasta dish that was so easy, and so delicious I have been so excited to share it with you!
I was originally craving a pasta carbonara dish with salty pancetta and cheese- but alas, at the Whole Foods where I had stopped, I forgot they almost never carry thick cut pancetta, only the paper thin slices are sold already pre-cut and packaged in the deli section. So I had to shift my plans. The deli man suggested I try prosciutto instead. Much less fatty that pancetta, but still a lot of flavor. And since I was being healthier with my leaner cut of meat. I decided to continue the trend and opt for a fresh tomato basil sauce instead of the creamy carbonara.
The two main things that make this recipe so amazing are- the slow roasted tomatoes, and the Maestri Pastai pasta noodles. I’ve mentioned Maestri Pastai before, I’m a big fan. The fine ingredients and unique craftsmanship they use to make their pasta creates a texture that is unmatched by any other I have ever tasted! For a pasta dish like this one- I highly recommend you spend the extra dollar and go for this brand because the rough porous texture on the surface of the noodle works to grip on to the pasta sauce and hold in the flavor. (I always find it in the cheese section of Whole Foods, not down the pasta isle.).
The roasted tomatoes are also a thing of beauty. So simple, so versatile, and so full of flavor. Now, for those of you who squirm at the site of tomatoes (I know who you are, you pick them off of sandwiches and turn your nose up at fresh pico, but for some reason you can eat them as tomato sauce and you love ketchup) I promise you, you will fall in love with roasted roma tomatoes. A simple roasted tomato is everything you love about tomato sauce, only freshly made in front of your eyes. It’s so easy to do- you just cut them in half, drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven for about half an hour- then presto, the fresh Roma tomatoes (which are typically pretty void of flavor) are now withered down in to concentrated flavorful goodness.
Tomato Basil Prosciutto Pasta
8-10 Roma tomatoes halved (lengthwise)
3-5 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Asiago cheese
12 large leaves Basil, torn in to pieces
1/4 lb Prosciutto diced
1 hand full of Maestri Pastai spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place your tomatoes halves on a baking sheet (flesh side up) and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until they are withered down, but not totally dired out. Use more olive oil halfway through cooking if necissary.
Get your pot of water boiling and place pasta in to cook for about 10-15 minutes.
While your pasta is cooking, saute the prosciutto in a skillet to render the fat and lightly brown on each side.
Once pasta is cooked, drain the water reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. This starchy liquid will help to bind everything together.
In your pasta bowl place the noodles and hot roasted tomatoes fresh from the oven. Stir well to break down the tomatoes and coat the pasta. Add the grated cheese, prosciutto, and the pasta water- stir well to combine and melt the cheese with the hot noodles and tomatoes. Then toss in the fresh basil to serve.