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Ziti with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

Serves 4 to 6

It does not get much better than this pasta recipe. You can plan to roast the tomatoes and garlic up to one day ahead if your dinner prep time is limited. Refrigerate until needed. From then on it is a very quick, easy, healthy and delicious main dish for a family dinner or casual entertaining. And, since it is equally good hot, warm or room temperature, it is the perfect meatless dish for a potluck event that both vegetarians and meat eaters will love.

Ingredients

Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the tomatoes, garlic and accumulated juices. Add the parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low. Drain the pasta, reserving a little cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce with some of the reserved water as needed to bring everything together. Stir over the heat for about 1 minute. Serve hot, warm or room temperature, passing cheese separately.

Notes: There are many methods for roasting either tomatoes or garlic. These are both quick, using higher heat, to save time. To roast the tomatoes, start with about 2-1/2 pounds fresh, ripe plum tomatoes. Halve them lengthwise, remove the seeds and squeeze out the excess juice. Place cut-side down on a baking rack on a baking sheet and roast at 450° F for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and, while still warm, pull of the skins. To roast the garlic, cut off the top of the head opposite the root end, exposing the cloves. Place on a piece of foil. Sprinkle with a little olive oil. Close the foil and roast at 450° for about 35 minutes, or until the cloves are very soft. Let cool until it can be handled. Squeeze the garlic out of the shells.