We’re reaching the last days of summer when everyone seems to have a multitude of tomatoes. Even if you don’t have tomato plants growing in your yard, a walk through the farmer’s market showcases the season’s bounty. Signs with varietal names such as Sungold, Cherry, Pantano Romanesco, Black Zebra, Valencia, Beefsteak, Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, and my personal favorite, Brandywine Pink, poke out from the mounds of tomatoes. Take advantage of this special time where tomatoes are best with this simple pasta with a complex flavor. Smokey, sweet, tangy, creamy tossed with the comfort of carbs, this dish has it all.
Campfire grill or grate
A couple of cooking spoons
For the sauce:
1 medium onion diced
4 garlic cloves chopped
5 cups of ripe tomatoes, chopped
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
6 ounces of dry bucatini
2 4-ounce balls burrata
For the roasted tomatoes:
3 lb of cherry tomatoes
several skewers, if wooden, soak for at least a half-an-hour
salt and pepper to taste
For the roasted broccolini:
1 bunch of broccolini, about 6 ounces
Salt and pepper to taste
Making the sauce
Begin by making the fresh pasta sauce. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a deep pan over medium heat. Whopt for pans with a broad base rather than a tall pot when making a quick pasta sauce like this. I feel as though it cooks faster with more heated surface space for the sauce. Once the olive oil is hot, add onion and stir to coat. Allow the onions to cook for four minutes or until they begin turning translucent and start to soften. Next, add the chopped garlic and mix. Let the garlic cook for a minute but make sure not to burn or brown your garlic. Burned garlic means bitter taste, and that’s not what we’re going for here.
Once the garlic has its moment, add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt. Stir the mixture together and turn up the heat to medium-high. Continuing to stir every couple of minutes, sautee the tomatoes for several minutes or when the tomatoes begin to break down. If your tomato mixture seems dry, add a 1/2 cup of stock or wine. If you’re unsure, don’t fret. The drained pasta you add later will add some moisture to the recipe.
Next, turn your heat to low and mix in the pepper, dried spices, red pepper flakes, and honey.
Roasting the tomatoes
While your tomatoes are cooking down, skewer your cherry tomatoes and coat them with olive oil. If you don’t have a basting brush, my hack is to drizzle a paper towel or napkin with olive oil and pat the oil onto the tomatoes. Next, sprinkle pinches of salt and pepper onto the tomatoes.
Brush or drizzle olive oil onto the broccolini and lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Play a little Tetris and place the tomato skewers, lemon, and broccolini onto the grill. Turn the broccolini and skewers over every few minutes, allowing them to roast evenly on each side. Let the broccolini charr a bit and roast the tomatoes until they soften and brown as well. Remove from the fire and place on a plate or platter.
While the sauce cooks and tomatoes and broccolini roast, bring a large pot of water to a boil on your camp stove. When you can see the light at the end of your tomato tunnel, meaning, when you feel like you’re reaching the end of your cooking times, cook the bucatini per its package’s instructions. Drain the pasta and, with tongs, incorporate it bit by bit into the sauce while gently tossing it as you go.
Putting it all together
Once mixed, serve the pasta on plates. Pick up a tomato skewer and slide the tomatoes off onto the pasta using a pair of tongs. Do about three skewers per plate. Add the roasted broccolini and squeeze the charred lemon over the platters. Place a ball of burrata on top of each pasta serving. Drizzle with some robust olive oil and season with pepper and salt or parmesan.