Ingredients for 4/5 people:500 g spaghetti500 g cherry tomatoes4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil25g sugar1 garlic10 thyme1 tsp oregano salt - For the pesto: basil Parmigiano aged pecorino cheese pine nuts garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil salt
Wash the tomatoes under running water, without removing the stalks; strain them well, take off the “green” and cut them in half. Place them in a baking pan with the bottom lined with greaseproof paper, with the cut side upwards. Season with salt and pepper. Peel the garlic, take the leaves off the sprigs of thyme, and chop them finely together adding the oregano as well. Put a teaspoonful of this mixture of chopped herbs on each tomato. Add a pinch of sugar and a drizzle of oil on each one: put in the oven, preheated to 140 °C, for roughly 2 hours until the tomatoes are slightly “roasted”, but not dry (or burnt!). In the meanwhile prepare the pesto: put the pine nuts in a mortar and squash them with a pestle (so they maintain their aroma) until you obtain a smooth mixture. With a “mezzaluna” knife, or an electric grinder, chop the basil together with the cheeses, the garlic and the coarse salt.
Put the pine nut mixture and the chopped basil in a bowl; add the oil, a little at a time, and mix thoroughly until you obtain a fairly thick sauce. Cook the spaghetti until “al dente”, strain them and tip them into a frying pan which you have put over a very low heat with the pesto (it mustn’t cook). Add a spoonful of the water the pasta was cooked in, toss everything quickly to mix the spaghetti with the sauce. Serve the pasta straight away, decorated with the confit tomatoes, which you have kept warm.
(1) The term Confit is used in cookery to indicate a technique of cooking, for a long time, at a low temperature, used to caramelize various types of ingredients (fruit, vegetables, even meat). The word comes from the French verb “confire” (= to conserve) which, in turn, comes from the Latin “conficere"".