Penne with Sun dried tomatoes

I made three articles out this recipe. I have wanted to do some dried Roma tomatoes for some time, & with the pasta recipe below, decided this would be a great time to combine things. Certainly check out the provided links if you’re interested in drying some veggies.

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For the sun dried pasta, I used about 4 ounces (about half the 8.5 oz jar liquid) of jarred tomatoes & about 3 ounces of freshly dried tomatoes. I know that the sun dried tomato recipe is going to be a little bland as I’ve had this before. I wanted to up the taste, which I did. I did this by using freshly dried onions, as well as freshly dried Roma tomatoes & four basil leaves that I picked off the plant. I didn’t use fresh or jarred garlic, as I have dried garlic abounding.

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Be sure to let the “sauce” raw sauce really, rest a little. One of my tasters found it a bit uneventful fresh from the pan.

I used some packaged “fresh” Parm, to give it a little texture. When you use Parmesan this way, you get a depth of flavor, as well as texture the “shaker” (cellulose stuff) isn’t going to give. Many of my recipes here, include using the “shaker” kind, as that probably will be more handy, for more people. Keep in mind that, that stuff, is mostly additives, just an FYI.

I used the dried veggies right from the dehydrator, but you can use them if you’ve made them in advance. Dried veggies are packed with power, & will hold up to long term storage. A safety note on drying is to be sure that the veggie is very dry, & void of moisture. This way they don’t mold or spoil. Date everything, so if you’re ever in doubt, toss it. You can always shove everything in the fridge, or even your converted wine cooler! There’s an idea. No, not the beer fridge or the kegerator, too risky.

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If you “salt your pasta like the ocean”, do taste the finished dish, before adding any extra salt. Especially my heart & diabetic brothers & sisters. You should always taste first, but some people don’t (I don’t know why, they just don’t).

I also found that you can reduce the amount of sun dried tomatoes by about half, if you’d like. It will give you that soft, nearly bland taste of packaged (jarred) tomatoes. Resist the urge to add fresh, not dried or (God forbid) canned tomatoes to this. That’s another recipe ;}).

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Split (fresh with canned)
2 ounces dried Roma tomatoes
4 ounces (half) of a jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil-with herbs is fine
1 Tbsp (apx) dried onion
1 tsp dried garlic
4 fresh basil leaves-use about a tsp of the dried if you need to, just re-hydrate before hand.
8 ounces (dry weight) pasta-you can use any that you like or have on hand
2-4 oz grated Parmesan cheese-the little stick looking stuff or the “shaker” if need be
6-12 ounces reserved pasta water
Salt & pepper to taste-I like pepper so used about teaspoon, maybe a little more

Prepare your pasta the regular way. Al Dente’ is my preference. Drain, reserving about 16 ounces of the water (you want more just in case). You can rinse the pasta if you’d like.

Meanwhile, back at the counter, use your blender/pulverizer machine to pulverize. Start with the dried first. I like to use the sharp side of my chopper. You want little tiny pieces. Don’t make it into a dust, but you want it chopped pretty fine. Too dry (see pic), will take some time. You can chop them by hand to get started, or just start adding the liquid (see pic).

Add the wet (jarred) tomatoes, with what ever oil comes out with them. Comes to about 3/4 Tbsp. Plus what ever is absorbed in the tomato. Blend these together to form a paste.

 

Dry only difference

6 ounces of dried tomato (weight)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Add all dry ingredients. Use the sharp side of your chopper. You want little tiny pieces. Don’t make it into a dust, but you want it chopped pretty fine. You may want to chop them in advance as it will take some time.
Add oil, blend. It will make a thick paste.

 

Wet (jarred) tomatoes only
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil

Put in blender/chopper with all of the ingredients but the pasta water, blend till it becomes a paste.

 

Using the reserved water from the pasta, add a little water at a time. Hot or nearly hot (but way more than tepid) water, will wake up your tomatoes. This is the secret to it not being dull & bland, aside from using freshly dried. You’ll more than likely use about 8 ounces of water in the split recipe. You don’t want it runny, just more loose than paste.

Add the basil & finish blending.

Fold into the hot pasta. Add cheese, serve.

Now here’s a point most don’t tell you. You can keep the pasta warm in the oven, or on a very low burner with some oil. Because if you blend your sauce, the pasta will get cold. You can heat it back up easily enough with some boiling water. You can nuke a coffee mug of water for about two minutes & pour that over the pasta that is in the colander/drainer to heat. Putting the pasta back in the pan & putting a lid on it, will help for a few minutes, but pasta will cool.

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