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Conchiglie with Roasted Tomatoes

Here is a dish to make in the summer when you can find grape, cherry or pear tomatoes that are especially sweet, such as Sun Gold, and in a variety of colors, from red to yellow. Briefly roasting the tomatoes with some olive oil and salt releases just enough juices to make a full-flavored sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for baking sheet, plus 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125
      ml)
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1 lb. (500 g) cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 lb. (125 g) fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. (500 g) conchiglie (medium pasta shells)
  • 1 tsp. fresh marjoram leaves

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425ºF (220ºC).

Oil a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle the surface lightly with sea salt. Place the tomatoes, cut sides down, on the pan. Roast until liquid forms on the bottom of the pan, no more than 10 minutes. The tomatoes should just soften, not actually cook.

In a large, shallow bowl in which you will serve the pasta, combine the tomatoes and their juices, the 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil, the cheese, basil and red pepper flakes. Season with sea salt and stir to mix.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over high heat, bring 5 quarts (5 l) water to a rapid boil. Add the kosher salt and the pasta, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to the bowl with the sauce and toss until well combined, adding some of the pasta-cooking water if needed to moisten and coat the pasta nicely. Sprinkle with the marjoram and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce (Weldon Owen, 2010).