bread crumbs and pasta

Have you seen this month's Gourmet? The cover picture leaves a lot to be desired, eh?

But I have to admit -- since I absolutely love bread crumbs in my pasta -- my mouth began to water. That pile of brown still portrays the simple magic of crispy bread crumbs together with al dente pasta.

Now I don't prepare mine the way Gourmet did -- I'm anxious to try their recipe. No, the way I tend to add bread crumbs is as Smitten Kitchen does in her baked tomato sauce: "Halve them and roast them cut side up in an olive oil slicked baking dish and top them with a mix of bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan and romano cheeses for all of twenty minutes, and ta-da, deliciousness is yours."

Let me show you...

tomato and bread crumb pasta
Serves 4

olive oil
1 lb ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 C real, finely ground, dry bread crumbs
1/2 C freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
course salt and freshly ground pepper
handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 lb pasta -- I like spaghettini or linguini for this

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9x13" baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and place all tomatoes cut side up in dish. **For 2-3 people, I just fill the bottom of my little 8x8 baking dish.

In small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, and minced garlic. Spread over tomatoes, making sure each of the tops are covered well. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are soft (about 20-30 mins.)

Meanwhile, make the pasta according to package directions. Try to time it so that the pasta is done about the time that the tomatoes are done. Drain pasta. Add hot pasta and basil leaves to the baking dish and toss with the tomato mixture, gathering up the crusty pieces of cheese and bread that may have slipped between the tomatoes. Yum!

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