It has been several days of non-stop cooking, with the snow keeping us mainly at home, and mainly inside. Aside from taking Bailey out for her walks–being a good Midwestern girl, hailing from Minnesota–she loves the snow and could be out in it all day. I am not as fond of it. So I cook.
This time of year finding a tasty local tomato is not in the cards. But my favorite find during the Winter months are these gigantic boxes of grape tomatoes from Mexico. In our area, the grocer always has the huge boxes for around five bucks. They are the perfect tomato for roasting in the oven at a high temp, really bringing out the natural sweetness.
Rinse tomatoes in a colander, then put them in a baking dish. Add a liberal amount of salt. Over salting is not really an issue here. Then add a good amount of olive oil to lightly coat the tomatoes. Same with the olive oil, you really can’t overdue it, as this will become part of the sauce. Then peel a whole head of garlic and cut the cloves in half to really release the garlicky goodness. Add the garlic to the tomatoes. Finally, add whole leaves of basil to the dish. Stir so the garlic and basil incorporate. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have burst, releasing all the amazing juices that will become part of the pasta sauce.
Once done, take out of the oven. Personally, I like taking the wilted basil leaves out and adding fresh ones, but you can leave them in if you wish. If you want this dish to be less garlicky, then discard the garlic. Fine to leave in, as well.
Once the linguini is cooked, toss with all the contents of the baking dish. The tomatoes and all of their juices and the olive oil will have made a glorious natural sauce. Add grated Parmesan once the pasta and tomatoes are mixed together. It really is delicious just like this, and can be served meatless. It is as simple and as easy as that.
If you want to make it a more substantial meal, add chicken or ground beef. I chose ground beef, which is pictured above. Sit and enjoy.