Lately, I’ve been on a carb kick and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m training for a bike ride that I’m doing in June. I’ll do a separate post on that later. But I’m cooking a lot of rice and pasta dishes. I really need to vary what I cook, but it’s just so easy to stick with pasta dishes and last night was no exception. We had creamy vegan garlic pasta with roasted tomatoes from Minimalist Baker (have I mentioned that I LOVE her recipes?). I haven’t cooked this dish in a long time. I don’t know why because it’s so good and easy to do.
One piece of advice I’ll give you right off the bat: DO NOT use wax paper. Use parchment paper to roast your tomatoes on. I don’t know what I was thinking, or not thinking, and I used wax paper. I started to smell something burning and saw a bit of smoke coming from the oven. What did I do? I just turned the heat down and continued to roast the tomatoes. Any sane person would’ve either used parchment paper or taken the tomatoes out of the oven and gotten rid of the wax paper. I didn’t. I thought “I don’t see a fire. I’ll just continue.” It just didn’t click what had happened. It was only when I started to clean up that I found some of the paper had melted to the pan. Oops!
Ok, so tomatoes. Let’s get into what the Food Thesaurus says before I go into the nutritional info. According to the Food Thesaurus:
Buying decent canned tomatoes is a good deal easier than buying tasty fresh ones. Look for Italian canned plum tomatoes–if it says San Marzano D.O.P. on the label, they’ll be good. The original San Marzano cultivar was more or less wiped out in the 1970s by the cucumber mosaic virus, but the kind available today is an approved replacement, with a fleshy texture that’s hard to beat for cooking. There are also some excellent organic brands from California. Canned tomatoes have been cooked a little (common for canned products) and will have developed a more sulfurous, jammy, spicy flavor than their raw counterpart. Raw tomatoes taste sour, sweet and salty, and have leafy, fruity and floral flavors. They’re at their best when they’ve been left to ripen properly on the vine, developing their optimal bold sweetness and acidity. If you can’t grow your own, store-bought cherry tomatoes are often the best bet for flavor.
Well, there’s the answer to my question of why most recipes that use tomatoes call for cherry tomatoes. The book goes on to say:
Tomato has an unami [sic] taste too. Heston Blumenthal, acting on a hunch that tomato seeds contain more flavor than the flesh, worked with scientists from Reading University to confirm that they are in fact richer in glutamic acids, which not only makes them particularly tasty but also boosts the flavor of other ingredients.
I used to cringe as a kid when I saw my Dad eating a raw tomato. As an adult, I’m doing what he did. However, people with arthritis should probably be a bit cautious with tomatoes as it is a part of the nightshade family. Apparently, the skins are a bit difficult to digest and might cause some allergic reactions or irritations in some people.
Other than that, tomatoes have lycopene which is an antioxidant and a carotenoid. Carotenoids are what gives the plant color. They are helpful at decreasing the risk of cancer, beneficial to the heart, and has loads of benefits for your skin.
You’ll see in some places that it’s suggested tomatoes are best in the raw state. Why not? Most other vegetables are best eaten raw to take full advantage of the nutrients they provide. However, tomatoes are probably better (nutrient wise) when they’re cooked.
So, on to the recipe. Slice your tomatoes in half and roast them sliced side up for 20 minutes at 400F. USE PARCHMENT PAPER AND NOT WAX PAPER HERE!!
Go ahead and get your pasta started then work on your sauce. Sauté your shallots and garlic. She says to use 8 cloves. I lost count of how many I used. When you slice up your shallots, don’t be fooled. Shallots are just onions but have a “delicate, perfumed flavor.” Your eyes WILL water as with a regular onion.
When you go to the grocery store to buy your shallots, just buy one bulb. There’s usually two inside stuck together.
Because you’re going to be whisking and can’t really stop, go ahead and get your sauce ingredients ready and in easy reach. Once you’re done cooking your shallots and garlic, add the flour (I used gluten-free). Mix everything and add your milk of choice (I used unsweetened soy milk) a little bit at a time. Don’t worry if it looks really clumpy at the beginning. Once you add all of your milk, it’ll get smoother.
Once it’s to your liking season it. I used quite a bit of salt and pepper, but I LOVE salt. Then add your pasta and tomatoes and mix. I didn’t add the tomatoes because the little one said he didn’t like it.
Notice I used fusilli. You can use whatever pasta you like: penne, sea shells, spaghetti, linguine, macaroni, or the little bow tie ones.
For mine, I spooned the tomatoes on top. The little one inhaled his dish. I didn’t have to fuss at him once! The dish didn’t take long to cook at all. There wasn’t much of a mess to clean up; if you don’t count my wax paper mishap into account. Plus, it’s good for lunch the next day. The ingredients used are all fairly inexpensive and you probably already have some on hand in the fridge and pantry! I’m DEFINITELY going to be making this again soon.