I love this sauce recipe - it is easy to make and always tasty. I first made this recipe in 1994, after Russ Parsons of the LA times published a piece there about a Roman cook who was teaching traditional techniques to top American chefs who came to her kitchen in Rome to learn at her knee. Over the years the recipe has taken on a life of its own in my kitchen - I'm not sure how true it is to Russ Parson's original, but it sure tastes great.
Easy Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce with Romano Cheese and Fresh Basil
1 pound cherry tomatoes (please try to use them when in season)
1-1/2 T bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C grated Romano cheese
2 T extra virgin olive oil OR virgin olive oil - nothing special
1/2 t oregano
handful of fresh basil
dash of flake or ground red pepper, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C Romano cheese, grated
1 T cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like Sicilian)
Preheat oven to 350
Wash and de-stem cherry tomatoes as needed.
Take out small roasting pan. Place tomatoes and garlic in roasting pan. Add olive oil. Toss tomatoes in oil. Add breadcrumbs, 3/4 of the cheese, and oregano to pan. Toss all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper - you can always add more at the end if you are concerned about over salting.
Here's what it will look like before it is placed in the oven:
Place pan in oven and roast 20-40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes and stirring mixture. Mixture will become wet and saucy as the tomatoes soften and break.
Here's what it looks like after it has cooked about 20 minutes:
The cherry tomatoes have started giving off their liquid and the breadcrumbs are starting to absorb the liquid. Stir stir stir!
After 10-20 more minutes, it starts to look like this:
When the garlic tastes done, remove from heat and finish the sauce with 1 T of very high end, cold-pressed Southern French or Sicilian olive oil. I like the perfume the oil adds to the final dish. You don't want to cook with these oils, however, as much of their delicate flavor is lost in cooking. Serve over pasta immediately.
Garnish with fresh basil and remaining 1/4 of cheese.