Here's an example of how to use roast tomatoes to transform a simple pasta dish into something very special. Other ingredients include blanched spinach, mascarpone, tiny flecks of red chilli, goat's cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice. In this recipe, incidentally, the tomatoes are peeled: their skin would spoil the textures of the dish.
8 plum tomatoes, cored, peeled and halved through the core
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp sugar
500g casarecce or another short, chunky pasta
400g spinach, picked over, tough stalks removed
1 small bird's-eye chilli, seeded and finely chopped
200g goat's cheese, diced
juice of 1 small lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a shallow baking-sheet lined with foil. Smear the tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sugar and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the tomato halves in half again.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Tip it into a warm serving bowl and toss it with any remaining olive oil, then mix in the mascarpone, stirring until it has dissolved. Keep it warm.
Meanwhile, put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When the water is boiling, blanch the spinach for 30 seconds. Tip it into a colander and hold the spinach under cold running water for a few seconds, then squeeze it against the sides to get rid of all the water. Chop it roughly.
Stir the spinach into the pasta, mixing well, then stir in the chilli. Season well with pepper. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and loosely toss the mixture with the goat's cheese and tomatoes.
This recipe can be found in 'The Big Red Book of Tomatoes' by Lindsey Bareham, published by Penguin, ISBN: 014026244X, 8.99.