Prep Time:15 minutes |
Cook Time:25 minutes
When people ask me what to make for dinner, I tell them to go shopping. The market will tell you what to make. Well, this weekend, the refrigerator told me what to make. I had been on a trip and when I came home the last thing I wanted to do was go shopping (nothing kills a post-travel buzz like a grocery store). In the fridge I found a container of ricotta, a cob of corn, some mint. On the counter, some San Marzano tomatoes from the farmer’s market that were past prime. While I roasted the tomatoes (shriveling them into sweetness that camouflaged their shriveled skins), I unpacked and showered. Then I tossed together a quick pasta and put the corn kernels in a bright salad with romaine and feta. Use fresh San Marzano tomatoes for the pasta if you can find them at the farmers’ market; if not, roma tomatoes will do just fine (or even in a pinch, drain Italian canned tomatoes).
2 lbs san marzano or roma tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb cavatappi (corkscrews) or other dried pasta shape
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
pinch red pepper flakes
fistful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch chunks and toss with enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Spread tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft and just starting to caramelize, about 1-1/2 hours. (If made ahead, let tomatoes cool and store at room temperature for up to a few hours, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.)
To make pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a big pinch of salt and the pasta and when the water comes to the boil again, stir once to loosen pasta. Cook until al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, spoon ricotta into a large serving bowl. Grate the rind of the lemon into the ricotta (reserve the naked lemon for another use). Add a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.
When the pasta is ready, scoop out a 1/2 cup of the cooking water and pour it into the bowl with the ricotta. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl; stir the mixture well to coat the pasta with the ricotta. Stir in the roasted tomatoes and chopped mint and serve immediately, grating a little parmigiano over each serving. Remember: it’s best to serve hot pasta in warmed bowls.