It happens every year. I don’t know why I’m always shocked. The end of tomato season. Even though the weather is still warmish, somehow the tomatoes know it’s the finale. They’re not quite as sweet or juicy. Still worthwhile, but not in tip top shape. I realized it was the end of tomato season a couple of days ago when I cut into a tomato from the farmer’s market. It needed roasting.
Roasting tomatoes just gives them a little help, a slight boost. It concentrates their flavors. All you do is set the oven at 350 degrees, slice the tomatoes into thick pieces, douse them in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little sugar. It takes about an hour, but they’re not really done until they’ve kind of collapsed into themselves and have slightly browned edges. So don’t rush it.
When they’re done, they’re soft and and luscious and taste more like those August tomatoes than the nearly October ones. And because you’ve been clever enough to add that beautiful olive oil which is now infused with tomato flavor you have basically made a sauce. A sauce that must be married with pasta. But it’s not quite there yet, this last-of-summer dish. It needs a little kick. It needs just a touch of chiles in adobo. You can find a can in the Mexican section of your supermarket. Basically, it’s chiles in a tomato sauce that’s spicy, spicy, spicy. I divide up the adobo into plastic sandwich bags and freeze it in small portions. That way, I can thaw a bit out when I need to give a dish a little zing.
So here we are. Pasta, roasted tomatoes with adobo and some of the olive oil the tomatoes roasted in. Add a sprinkle (well, in my case, a shower) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and there is no better way to usher out summer and welcome in fall.