Oct. 20th
2008
written by scott

greek penne with tomato confit

Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes are really the star of this dish.  The French Laundry uses tomato confit in many of its preparations.  My method isn’t quite as intricate as theirs, but the intent is the same: to sweeten and intensify the flavor of the tomato.  The result is a delicious variation on your otherwise ordinary pasta night.  After baking the tomatoes, to really make them confit, store them in an airtight jar immersed in olive oil for later uses.

Makes: Special pasta night for 2
Total kitchen time: 1 hour (15 minutes working time)

Shopping list:

  • 1/2 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 4 oz. (about 2 cups) penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped oregano
  • ooks&fgbp
  1. Rinse and pat dry the tomatoes.  Slice in half through the stem end.  In a small bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with about 1 tsp. kosher salt and enough good olive oil to coat.
  2. Arrange the tomatoes in an even layer, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Bake at 250°F for 1 hour.  This is a good time to use your toaster oven, if you’ve got one.
  3. About 30 minutes into the tomato roasting, bring a very large pot of water to a boil.  Even if you’re only cooking for two, use at least a gallon of water if you can.  All the Italian chefs say we need to, though they may be in the pocket of Big Water.  Salt the water.
  4. Cook the pasta to al-dente (10-12 minutes, check the package for directions) and drain well.  Toss together the pasta, feta, oregano and olives with a little more (good) olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Plate, and add the confit-ed tomatoes on top. 

For real tomato confit, Thomas Keller suggest that we blanch, peel, and seed the tomatoes before baking.  If you’ve got the extra time on your hands, please go ahead and report back.  I should be just about done with dinner by then!

Sondage Becoquin.fr | Mark amin

3 Comments

  1. Tim Robinson
    21/10/2008

    a) fricking great, beautiful pictures. b) love the blog site. c) i just discovered it, even though i’ve been reading your seattle PI blog for awhile. d) i have, for years, been peeling and seeding tomatoes (reg’lar tomatoes, not cherries) and then sllllowly cooking them in olive oil on the stove top. they almost — almost — become a thick syrup when done right. maybe a teeeeeny weeeeeny bit of garlic…some kosh…and you are going to make someone weep. i once cured my mother-in-law of some terrible strain of influenza…by feeding her some of that tomato sauce. lastly, i do not get why you are calling this confit. those are roasted tomatoes.

  2. 21/10/2008

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks very much! I see you’re no stranger to the miraculous potential of the tomato.

    You’ve sort of caught me… almost. I got the notion of Tomato Confit from the French Laundry cookbook. Apparently, its a preparation that they use quite often = peeling and seeding the tomatoes, then roasting them with olive oil and kosher salt. The subtle but important difference between my 30-minute version and the real confit is that the French Launry stores their roasted tomatoes in a jar of olive oil. It is the storing – the preservation of the food – that makes it confit. So you’re right, this isn’t really tomato confit, but it would be if you made it ahead of time :-)

    Thanks for your comment and for reading!

    -Scott

  3. Andrew
    11/01/2009

    Awesome recipe. So good. And if you make the tomatoes in advance it is even easier. Whatever you call the tomatoes — confit or oven dried, here is a recipe that works with yours. You can take out the garlic and oregano.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/ovendriedtomatoes_72380.shtml

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