Sunday, February 26, 2012

Baked Rotini with Roasted Tomato-Garlic Sauce

Remember how I told you about the fact that I like to work out to de-stress? The next top choice of course is cooking. And not just making my usual safe dishes, but trying out weird variations of (my) standard recipes. And the best part is that I am super-motivated while trying out variations, thus taking real cool pictures and then discussing the pros and cons of the recipe with VJ and my sis.

So tonight, after a particularly stressful week that was unfortunately further marred by snowstorms and closed airports, I decided to re-visit my arrabbiata sauce. I roasted the tomatoes and garlic in the oven and fried the onions to a burnt brown in the pan. And then I used my standard trick of tomato soup to finish it off. Finally, layered it all and baked it to a perfect finish :)

Garden Rotini pasta - 2 cups (uncooked)
Roma tomatoes - 2
Garlic - 4 cloves
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato soup (plain) - 1 can
Oil - 1 tsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder/flakes - 1 tsp (reduce to 1/2 for a milder sauce)
Italian seasoning - 1.5 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Italian cheese mix - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Water - to boil the pasta
Baking dish - 9" x 9"

1. Bring the water to full boil in a wide vessel and cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Slice the tomatoes in half, lengthwise and set on the baking dish. Drizzle with the oil and add the garlic pods (with skin) and set in the pre-heated oven at 450 F for 20 mins. After it's done, set aside to cool.
3. In the meantime, slice the onion into thin strips and fry with the butter and a little sprinkling of salt until well browned and just before almost burnt. Set aside to cool.
4. Pulse the cooled tomatoes and the garlic (after peeling) to a chunky paste and set aside.
5. Similarly, pulse the cooled onions to a chunky paste and set aside.
6. Using the same pan as the fried onions, fry the tomato paste for 30 secs. Add the red chilli powder, italian seasoning and the pepper powder and fry for another 30 secs.
7. Then add the pulsed onions and fry for 1 minute. Finally add the can of tomato soup and salt. Check the seasoning and let it cook for about 5 to 8 mins.

To assemble:
1. Layer the pasta on the dish.
2. Pour the sauce over the pasta.
3. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
4. Cover with foil and bake at 375 F for 15 mins.

None to cite. Just followed a basic arrabbiata recipe with minor variations. Although, the idea for roasting the tomatoes came from here :)

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