Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Penne with Baked Tomatoes and Greens

We had a strange summer here in California. It was very mild, sunny, but not hot for most of June, July, and August. My tomato plants languished the whole season, never quite getting ripe, never quite reaching their potential. But then, in September, we had heat wave after heat wave, all the way to the beginning of October. And suddenly, my tomatoes came to life, producing more fruit then I knew what to do with. In the interest of not being wasteful I had to find something to do with all these beautiful tomatoes. So, I decided to invest in my future (and by future, I mean December), when tomatoes are mealy and generally flavorless. I took my harvest and captured the flavor, then froze them so I could open up a bag of summer in the middle of winter. Or, fall, since I was feeling impatient.

Preparing the tomatoes is simple. Heat the oven to 375º. Small tomatoes can remain whole; larger tomatoes should be halved. Place tomatoes on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet with a few cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for an hour, or until the tomatoes are wrinkled, juicy, and just starting to brown. Scoop the tomatoes into freezer bags, and forget about them.

This dish is perfect for a weekday evening, as it’s quick and simple, requiring little preparation and very little cleanup.

1 pound whole wheat penne
1 cup baked tomatoes thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups spinach
1 cup arugula
Chopped slivered almonds for garnish

Cook the penne according to the package. In a large sauté pan, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, spinach and arugula. Stir until the greens are wilted. Add the penne to the tomatoes and toss. Top with the almonds and enjoy!

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