Last week I made a box of spaghetti to accompany dinner and for various reasons (people not being home for dinner, eating too big a lunch, etc.) no one really ate much of it, which meant I had a large tupperware container full of cooked spaghetti doing nothing. At the same time I also had a large box of heirloom cherry tomatoes that my mom had brought us that had inadvertently gotten pushed to the back of the fridge and were beginning to lose their freshness (sorry Mom!). All of sudden a lightbulb went off, although that may have just been the refrigerator door opening, and I had a brilliant flash of creativity. Thus was born my Roasted Tomato Spaghetti Pie!
Do you ever watch Chopped on the Food Network? You know, where they give chefs wacky ingredients like calf's liver, jellybeans, tomato paste and saffron and ask them to whip up masterful dishes in 20 minutes? I don't watch it regularly although there is something fascinating about watching the poor cooks have to deal with the most disgusting things. Anyway, putting this pie together sort of reminded me of the show, minus the disgusting factor. I too had a deadline--not 20 minutes, but we did have to leave for a hockey practice in about an hour. Anyway, I kind of threw a little of this and a little of that together and the judges at home deemed it delicious and moved me on to the dessert round!
First, I sprinkled on a little salt and pepper and roasted the tomatoes.
Then, I tossed the spaghetti with a little olive oil, and those tomatoes.
I knew I needed something to bind it all together, so I beat up a few eggs, added some grated parmesan cheese and some shredded mozzarella and some salt and pepper and mixed that all together. If I'd had some fresh basil, I'd have added that in too. Maybe next time!
I started by cooking the whole thing in a non-stick frying pan over the burner so that the bottom would get nice and crispy but since I wanted the top to get crispy too, and it was too large to flip over, I placed the pan under the broiler for a few minutes and that really did the trick.
The contrasts in this hodgepodge were really interesting--crispy, almost charred cheesy top, soft inside, sweet tomatoes running throughout and chewy golden brown bottom. This would also be tasty with some onions or shallots or maybe peas or asparagus--really any veggie addition--it's extremeIy versatile, the only limit is your creativity. And while I'm pretty sure this would get me booted off Chopped pretty fast, once people get a taste of this, there'll be no chopping, only chomping (as in teeth, ok, better end this now!!)
Roasted Tomato Spaghetti Pie
Makes 6-8 servings as a main dish
Prep Time: 1/2 hour (including roasting tomatoes) Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
- 1 box cooked spaghetti
- 2 containers cherry or grape tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- dash of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up and spray with vegetable cooking spray.
2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are plumped up. Remove from oven but leave oven on and turn to broil.
3. Place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl and toss with the roasted tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil.
4. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together and then add both cheeses and the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well.
5. Using a 12 inch non-stick skillet, heat the butter and remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Place the spaghetti mixture into the pan and press down, forming a large cake. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the bottom is golden brown (use a spatula to lift the sides a bit and check). Place pan under the broiler and cook for about 5-6 minutes until the top is golden brown and some of the spaghetti begins to get charred. Remove from oven and slide the pie onto a large plate. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
6. Leftovers reheat well in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes and then a quick pass under the broiler to crisp it up again.