RECIPE

Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Red Pepper Sauce with Pici

A flavorful roasted tomato sauce tops thick pasta to feed a crowd.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for liberal drizzling
  • 2 bulbs garlic, ends cut to expose cloves
  • 4-5 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme (10-12)
  • 2 red field peppers or large bell peppers
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 1 1/2 pounds pici or bucatini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic bulbs and wrap them tightly in a foil pouch. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until golden and very soft; remove and reduce the heat to 350°F.


Arrange the tomatoes on two baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Strip 5-6 small stems of thyme for each pan and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Roast for 1 hour, or until well-slumped.


Char the peppers over an open flame on a stovetop or under a broiler until the skins are evenly blackened and papery at the edges. Place in a bowl; cover and cool. Peel and seed the peppers.


Working in two batches, place a tray of tomatoes, the cloves from one bulb of roasted garlic squished from the skins, one roasted red pepper and two leaves of fresh basil in high-power blender (like a Vitamix) or a food processor and puree. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes, garlic, pepper and basil. Combine in a pot and simmer to keep warm.


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve a little of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta, a cup or so.


Toss the pasta with the butter, if using, and half of the sauce. Serve pasta in shallow bowls or family-style on a large platter topped with remaining sauce. Pass lots of cheese at the table.

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