Angela is a young woman, I met at the gym. Through our conversation I found out that her family is from Salerno, Italy, where she visits as often as possible. Of course being Italian, food became the topic of conversation. She told me of a dish that is a specialty of Salerno and one that her nonna prepares when tomatoes are at their ripest.
Angela was nice enough to tell me how her grandmother makes “Maccheroni con i pomodori ripieni.” What that means is, pasta with roasted stuffed tomatoes. The roasted stuffed tomatoes are placed on top of prepared pasta. When the tomatoes are cut into, their juices and the stuffing, become part of the sauce. This was all new to me, so I was excited to try.
I hate to say this, but I changed a few things in the recipe. Hopefully Angela’s nonna won’t find out. She may give me the Malocchio (evil eye). She didn’t give me an actual recipe. Italian nonnas only cook by feeling and taste, never by the book. What Angela gave me was a list of ingredients and some instructions.
I used homemade breadcrumbs for the stuffing, because I think they produce the best results. I also added capers, gaeta olives, pine nuts, grated parmesan and fresh basil. The tomatoes are then stuffed and roasted. Angela told me that her nonna has even stuffed cherry tomatoes for this dish. That’s a little too ambitious for me. I opted for the larger, easier to stuff variety.
To season the pasta, I heated some olive oil in a pan and browned garlic, anchovy fillets and red pepper flakes. When the pasta was cooked, I mixed it with the flavored oil, as well as any juice that was in the pan from the roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes are then placed on top of the prepared pasta. I loved this!!!
I’m so glad, Angela was nice enough to share her grandmother’s recipe.
I love trying new recipes, especially when they’re part of a family’s tradition. It makes them that more special and delicious.
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