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!