Conchiglioni with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
A pot of fabulous buffalo mozzarella has been sitting in my fridge for a while now and I suddenly had the urge to make a classic italian tricolore salad of mozzarella, fresh basil and tasty tomatoes. The tomatoes were so disappointing, however, that I binned that idea, chopped them in half and slow-roasted them in the oven instead. This is a great idea for sprucing up flavourless tomatoes and produces a deliciously deep flavour, especially if you help this along by sprinkling them with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
You could eat these tomatoes with a lovely balsamic dressing and mop up the juices with chunks of crusty bread, you could leave them to cool and keep them for tomorrow’s lunch/lunch box…there are lots of tasty options, but I decided to use these tomatoes as the base for a pasta sauce – a much more sensible idea for fuelling the body than a salad, especially as I did a pretty hard 12 mile run yesterday and have 5 miles to do today.
I used fusilli bucati, a great fun pasta with a hole running through the centre and I reckon this goes very well with a good rich tomato sauce. Spaghetti is good as well, or conchiglioni shells .The pasta and the tomatoes have a low glycaemic index and so will release energy to your muscles slowly and gradually, the tomatoes are a rich source of several nutrients, including a vitamin C, vitamin A, and B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium). They are also a good source of fibre and the antioxidant lycopene (good for fighting disease). This pasta is so quick and easy to make and is a perfect midweek staple for your training diet. Scatter with mozzarella, feta, basil leaves and crispy bacon…
Pasta with roasted tomato sauce
8 decent sized vine tomatoes
1/2 bottle of sugocasa (just to add a bit of bulk, you can use more fresh tomatoes instead if you have them)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
glug of olive oil
1tsp demerara sugar
Plenty of salt and black pepper
1 flaked dried chilli (optional)
1 tbsp small capers (optional)
big bunch of basil, chopped, saving a few leaves for decoration
feta cheese, cubed or slices of buffalo mozzarela
5 rashers streaky bacon or prosciutto
- Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle over balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper and place in the oven at about 170.
- Add the garlic about 5 minutes before you remove from the oven – after about 30-40 minutes.
- Transfer to a saucepan, scraping off all the caramelised bits as well, add the sugocasa and chilli if you are using it and cook very gently, covered, for another 20 minutes or so, stirring every now and then.
- Add more balsamic, olive oil, seasoning, maybe some lea & perrins etc to taste. Add the chopped basil at the last minute.
- Grill the bacon until really crispy
- Cook the pasta shells in salted water according to pack instructions – warning, you need a really big pan if you are cooking 500g! When you drain the pasta, leave some of the cooking liquid to stop it getting sticky, and add some olive oil.
- Serve with pasta in large individual pasta dishes. Place a slice of bacon on top with some basil leaves and pieces of feta/mozzarella sprinkled over.