Spaghetti with roasted cherub tomatoes and capers in a picante, garlic-butter sauce.
The idea for this dish began when Leonardo gifted me a jar of farmer style capers from Italy. A bit different than nonpareils from France, these capers are a little more subtle and lend more to the base of the dish rather than an acidic brightness upfront.
Slice about 2 dozen cherub tomatoes (or any small tomatoes that you like) in half lengthwise and mix with a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil. Place into an over-worthy pan and roast at 400°F for 18-20 minutes. When done, pull from the oven and leave it on the stove. My trick is to keep a kitchen towel or oven mitt around the handle to remind me there is a hot pot on the stove.
Grabbing a 400° piece of metal with your bare hand will alter the course of events for the night. I’d love to say I learned that in a book, but having the words All-Clad seared into your palm for a month is also a great teacher.
This would be a good time to get your spaghetti going. Remember, it only needs to boil for about 8 minutes to get to al dente (unless you’re using fresh pasta, but that’s another post). About ¾ pound should be plenty to feed two.
In a sauce pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in 2 medium cloves of garlic that have been peeled and chopped along with 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, a few grinds of black pepper and 2-3 bay leaves. Also add in about 1 tablespoon of the capers.
Mixing often, saute until the garlic becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Then add in the roasted tomatoes and all the juice that has accumulated in the pan.
Heat through on medium heat for another 2 minutes then add in a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Add in the pasta and finish cooking it in the sauce, about another minute or so. Sprinkle in another few capers, mix through and serve.
Garnished with grated Pecorino Romano and fresh parsley sprigs.