Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow's Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta

I had to. I just...had to. With all the heat that Gwyneth Paltrow had been getting from her first, entirely random, cookbook, I had to try at least one recipe. "Just one, but that's it," I thought to myself, as Gwyneth stared back at me from the cover of Bon Appétit. As I flipped through her limited handful of free recipes, I sensed the cool back side of the culinary world's hand approaching my right cheek.

I found nothing particularly interesting, until I stumbled across a narrow column titled, "Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Oreganata Pasta." As I read through its ingredients, I was itching for a picture of this dish. The very top of the column had some unnoticeable text, pre-labeling the column, "Cook the Cover." Wait, what? How did I miss that? I flipped back to the cover and only saw Gwyneth, staring back at me again. I looked down at her hands and saw a nondescript, bland-looking pasta.

Nope. No thanks. I read through the rest of her recipes, but the spaghetti recipe called for me. In a last-ditch effort, I went to the Bon Appétit website, hoping to find a better picture.

Eh, better, but the spaghetti still looked kind of bland. I guess it looked good enough to try. I cast my visual judgments aside and just went for it. Besides, how can you go wrong with roasted cherry tomatoes and anchovies? Gwyneth and I were on the same page on that one.

You start off this easy and aromatic recipe with some cherry tomatoes. I don't think you have to be very exact with any of her measurements, and she seems to agree.

Next up was the oreganata. I used whole wheat panko bread crumbs for this, and I can see where homemade bread crumbs could do a better job here. The panko bread crumbs didn't hold together very well and turned out to be more of a crumble, with very little structure. Maybe some egg white could have helped here too. If you have the time to do make your own bread crumbs, go for it. It's super easy and it'll probably be well worth it. The bread crumbs got tossed together with some flat-leaf parsley, thyme, oregano, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some good old extra virgin olive oil.

Next, some delicious anchovies. I didn't account for how salty the anchovies already were, so be careful with the amount of salt you put in the oreganata mixture.

After you spread out the oreganata over the anchovies, you're good to throw it into the oven.

Back to the tomatoes. I roasted them for three and a half hours and got sweet enough results. Her upper limit of eight hours might be killing it, but I have yet to try it. They came out wrinkled and absurdly fragrant.

After a few minutes, the bread crumbs should come out well-browned and shiny. There should also be an awesome smell coming out of your oven.

After letting the tomatoes cool, as recommended by Gwyneth, I crushed the tomatoes by hand. This is by far one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

You should have a beautiful pool of tomato juices and roasted skins.

Then you just add some garlic, salt, and olive oil to a pan and add the tomatoes in spaced-out batches. She doesn't say to do this, but I find that adding the roasted tomatoes in a few, separate batches definitely adds some nice layers of flavor. Start cooking your spaghetti (especially if it's dry) before you throw in the last, and what will turn out to be the "freshest," batch of tomatoes.

Throw in the spaghetti with the last batch of tomatoes and toss to coat the spaghetti with the sauce. If the sauce isn't clinging enough to the pasta, add in some of that pasta water. Right before serving, mix in some torn basil leaves.

This end result is simple, fresh, and surprisingly layered in flavor and texture. The perfect bite should start off with some of that crunchy, umami, fishy, and herbal oreganata, followed by a thin layer of fresh basil and flavorful roasted tomato skin, which should break the way to some toothsome spaghetti coated with a vibrantly sweet tomato sauce.

Sounds awesome, right? It is. Give it a whirl when you get the chance.

Gwyn (I feel like we're on a nickname name basis now--I hope you don't mind), congrats on surviving a mountain of high-seated criticism. You're awesome in my book, and I'm looking forward to cooking up another one of your recipes.

Culinary world...thank you, may I have another?


  1. That magazine was my bathroom reading material. I too stared at the cover and was underwhelmed.

  2. Wow!!
    It makes me to book a ticket to Seattle!!!
    I want to see the real one in your kitchen!!
    Call to the and send me one!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...