Tomatoes Stuffed with Pasta
These stuffed tomatoes are rather more difficult to make than the tomatoes stuffed with parsley and breadcrumbs on p85 of my book, because they must be carefully prepared so that they can hold the pasta. Coco graduated quite quickly from the first simple dish to this more complicated one. Sometimes she adds pieces of buffalo mozzarella, a few capers or 1 or 2 chopped anchovy fillets to the pasta.
|6||large ripe tomatoes|
|150g||small shell pasta|
|5 tbsp||extra-virgin olive oil|
|2 tbsp||chopped flat-leaf parsley|
|1 tbsp||chopped fresh oregano or marjoram|
|1||garlic clove, chopped|
|A pinch or 2||of dried crushed chilli|
|Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste|
Wash and dry the tomatoes and then cut off the top of each tomato, which you will use later as a lid. With the handle of a pointed teaspoon scoop out all the seeds and pulp, to make a cup. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with some salt and put them upside down on a board to drain for half an hour or so. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
While the tomatoes are draining, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain into a bowl when it is very al dente since it will cook again inside the tomatoes.
Dress the pasta immediately with 3 tablespoons of the oil and black pepper to taste, and mix in the herbs, garlic, chilli and whatever other bits you have chosen to add. Check the seasoning.
Wipe the inside of each tomato with kitchen paper, then spoon the pasta into each tomato cup and cover with its tomato lid.
Brush a baking tray with some of the remaining oil and place the tomatoes on the tray. Drizzle with what oil you have left and bake for about half an hour. Coco likes them cold; I prefer them hot. Try them both ways and then ask your Coco which she prefers.