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PASTA WITH ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES

Preparation - Easy
Serves 4

About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
18 to 24 small, very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup unflavored breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano romano cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound fusilli (corkscrew) or butterfly (farfalle) pasta
1/4 cup, loosely packed, torn basil leaves

PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a third of the oil to smear over the bottom of a pyrex oven dish. Set the tomatoes in the dish, cut side up. There should be just enough to fit comfortably in the dish with no crowding

COMBINE the breadcrumbs with the two cheeses (you may use just parmigiano reggiano if you don't have a good pecorino romano) and the garlic and toss with a fork to mix well. Sprinkle this over the tops of the tomatoes, making sure that each cut side is well covered with the crumb mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked and starting to brown on top.

MEANWHILE bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Plunge in the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is done to your liking. Time the pasta so it finishes cooking about the time the tomatoes are ready to come out of the oven.

PULL the tomatoes from the oven when they're done, add the torn basil leaves to the oven dish, and stir vigorously to mix everything into something like a sauce.

DRAIN the pasta and immediately turn it into the hot oven dish, stirring to mix well; or turn the pasta into a heated bowl and immediately add the hot tomatoes, stirring to mix well.

IF the pasta seems dry, add a little more olive oil to coat it well.

SERVE immediately. No cheese.

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