capricci with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and cream√
Note: “Capricci is one of the many whimsical pasta shapes now on the market,” writes Domenica Marchetti in “The Glorious Vegetables of Italy.” “It isn’t always easy to find, and I’ve seen a couple of different variations. They are either tight coils or tight ruffles, and in either case are excellent at trapping sauce. If you are unable to find them, substitute another short, coiled pasta shape, such as fusilli or gemelli.”
• 1 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• Fine sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 shallot
• 2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs
• 3/4 c. heavy cream
• 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped basil
• 1 lb. dried capricci (see Note)
• 1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Arrange cherry tomatoes cut-side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grinding of pepper. Roast tomatoes until they are somewhat puckered and shriveled but still juicy, about 90 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. When butter has just begun to foam, stir in shallot. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Scrape in tomatoes and any juices that have collected on the baking sheet. Add thyme sprigs and pour in cream. Heat gently to a simmer over low to medium-low heat. Right before dressing the pasta, turn off heat and stir in basil.
Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot and spoon two-thirds of sauce over it. Add 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Toss gently to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of reserved pasta water, if necessary, to loosen sauce, and toss again.