Cooking with the Barefoot Contessa: Perfect Roast Tomatoes

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use, pardon my French, crap tomatoes.  Ones that would even taste bad raw.  Because the time spent in the oven transforms these tomatoes into perfect, bite-sized tastes of the Mediterranean.  In fact, save the fragrant juicy tomatoes from your garden and those colorful heirlooms from the farmer's market for a fresh salad where you can really feature the flavor.  I've roasted tomatoes many, many times but have often stuck to cherry tomatoes.  They taste yummy but after trying Ina Garten's recipe, I'm sticking to roasting these kinds of tomatoes.  Want to know the secret?  Sugar!  Yes, not only do you sprinkle salt over the tomatoes, but 2 teaspoons of sugar.  It makes all the difference.  Recipe below.

Roasted Tomatoes from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa show
Ingredients (serves ~4)
10 plum tomatoes (I used roma tomatoes, they have a prettier shape and were easy to scoop out)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper, to taste
good balsamic vinegar (I used my favorite vinegar that we got in Modena on our tour of the acetaia)  

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Slice 10 Roma tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides (seeds, etc.) so that all your left with is the shell.  (You can save the insides to use in a sauce later).  Place all 20 hollowed-out tomatoes on a pan.  Mince the garlic and sprinkle evenly over tomatoes.  Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil.  Sprinkle sugar and salt evenly over the tomatoes.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar.  Place in oven for at least 25 minutes or until done.  The longer you leave them in, the more they develop a sun-dried tomato consistency- it's delicious!  Chiffonade some basil and sprinkle over the cooked tomatoes.   

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