Radiatore with Black Garlic, White Onion and Marscapone Pomodoro

Makes for 3-4 ppl. Warning: Sauce is GOOD and you may want to scale up accordingly if you want seconds.
Also this recipe might include DIGRESSIONS. It is quicker / less complicated than it looks on the page, i’ve tried to explain everything and make it foolproof


1 large packet of Radiatore
sauce will be thick and slightly creamy so go with a shape that has good longitudinal strength and won’t flop in a heavy sauce, and ideally ridged.
of the longbois only Mafaldine can handle it. Of the shortbois, Fusilli, Farfalle, Penne fine. The various snail shells would be good, they are very sauce greedy. Radiatore was perfect though. Di Cecco do a good one.

2 packets of large cherry tomatoes on the vine
about 16 tomatoes total, the ones that are approximately a little smaller than a golf ball
1 packet of cherry tomatoes on the vine
the smaller sweeter ones, that are like the size of a malteser
The reason for the two different sizes is to stagger the points that they break down in the mixture and release liquids
the riper the tomatoes, the faster the recipe will cook, and also the tastier the sauce, so thats worth bearing in mind.

1 head of black garlic
1/2 a white onion
1 nice large ripe red chili pepper
4 cloves white garlic
4 spring onions
About 20 leaves of fresh basil (I prefer a full plant as I also use the stems, more on that later)
1/2 a tub of Marscapone, about 150g of a 250g tub.
Olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, in generous quantities.
3 or 4 anchovies (optional)

1 Large pot for pasta boiling (duh)
1 Braising pan for cooking the sauce with clear lid. This is the big flat bottomed saucepan with high, straight sides. It looks like this:

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You want as much surface area on bottom of pan so that you can distribute medium heat to as much of the sauce as poss.

Mandolin, Garlic Press, Hand/Stick Blender

______COOKING______ (approx 30 minutes)

PREP SECTION: these can be done in advance but they take 3 minutes

remove the individual cloves of black garlic and place them in a bowl. Their texture is like a thick black gel, they smell amazing and sweet, like figs, but pungent with earthy and garlic notes.
Add olive oil slowly and just macerate and stir them with a fork until you get a thick black paste. The first time I did this I was making an aoili and so used a little mayo as a bonding agent.
It worked fine. Black Garlic Aoili is as simple as mixing this paste with mayo. It tastes amazing. Put it on a burger.
Anyway, trim the tip and root off the white onion, peel its outer skin and then slice the 1/2 white onion lengthways as finely as you can. aim for as thin a slices as possible but don’t dice it. I used a mandolin because I bought myself one for christmas as a present to me
which makes this a piece of piss, but you can do it with a knife. Then finely dice the nice fresh chili. Add both of these to the black garlic sludge and just muddle them around in the bowl until the onions are totally coated and everything is evenly distributed.
This can go in the fridge or is ready for cooking

Cut the roots off the spring onion. Cut them in half approximately where the stems start to become green / leafy. Slice the white stems in half lengthways, then line them all up together and finely dice.
Take any muscular remaining green bits of the spring onion (not dry or floppy bits) and finely dice if you like, not essential, just adds grassy notes and balance. Finely dice the garlic cloves or just mash them through a garlic press if you have one (another xmas present for me). Add these all to a bowl.
This can go in the fridge or is ready for cooking

Take the individual tomatoes off the vine and remove their leaves, put them all in one bowl. You can throw away the individual green tops of each tomato but DONT THROW AWAY THE VINES. you should have 3 or more big vine bits. Grab them and mash them together in your hands. They should all form one big vine clump like a sticklebrick! The wonder of nature!

Ok now we’re ready to go.
Everything is easy from here.

• put your braising pan on a medium heat, and cover the base of the pan in olive oil, enough oil that it touches all the sides without you having to move the pan. Add a little bit more oil after this; the ingredients in the next step shouldn’t touch the bottom of the pan.
Add about 20 basil leaves, placing them face down around the pan so they don’t touch each other. You want the oil at a heat where you are seeing tiny bubbles around the leaves and hearing a hiss, but you are not frying them hard. The idea here is for the basil leaves to wilt and exfoliate some oil. As soon as they soften, add all the Black Garlic onions and chili, again spreading them out around the pan so they are evenly distributed as much as possible across the surface of the oil. They should be cooking and hissing but not frying hard. as they begin to soften move them about the pan with a wooden spoon but don’t stir or let them clump together, keep everything nice and spaced out.

• When you can smell the onions cooking and you can see the flesh has changed color, about 3 mins, add the tomatoes by placing them on top of the onion layer. You should have enough tomatoes to completely fill the pan edge-to-edge, start with the big ones and use the smaller ones to plug gaps. Any extra small ones left over can go on top. You want to pack an almost solid layer of tomatoes above the onion and the oil. On top of this you now place you sticklebrick of vines, so its sitting completely on top of the tomatoes and not touching the oil at all. The oil should not be frying the tomatoes per se, but they are almost steaming above it. You should hear a hiss, not a spatter, acoustically, they are getting buzzed, not fried. I don’t know how to explain this but you’ll know what I mean.Now place your lid on the pan. Leave for 5 mins

• After about five mins you should see sweat bubbles forming on the skins of the tomatoes and some of the skins of the bigger tomatoes may even be ripping a little as they expand in the heat. Thats good! The goal of this part of the process is the same as in all my pomodoro hacks with cherry tomatoes; you are getting the flesh to break down and cook inside the skins, and the skins are protecting them from the heat and stopping the sugars from caramelizing too early. Now we chemically spike the process. Take the lid off the pan briefly, get your table salt and liberally (I do mean liberally) dust the tomatoes, like you were garnishing a cake with icing sugar. You want to coat the tomatoes with a thin layer of salt that basically dusts every tomato. It will seem like a lot of salt but the liquid thats about to come out of the tomatoes is so sweet that the combo is just a pure tomato flavor. The salt basically is going to draw the liquid out of the skins. The next step happens quite fast. Within a few minutes you should have liquid seeping out of the tomatoes and beginning to rise in the pan. When you see it bubbling at the level of the top of the tomatoes, take your sticklebrick of the vines out of the pan, and take the lid off. add the chopped white garlic and spring onions to the bubbling liquid and now for the first time stir the mixture with the wooden spoon. You should be getting extremely rich, glorious smells coming off it and if you used enough salt a very concentrated tomato flavour.

• You should be about 15 - 20 minutes in at this point, so get that water boiling for your pasta pot. You’ll want to put them in shortly. But first:

• You’ll want to keep stirring the sauce, and keeping an eye on the tomatoes breaking down. Some of the riper ones will have almost completely broken down and vanished at this point, the bigger ones should be squishy if you poke them with the spoon or whatever you are stirring with. Make sure nothing is sticking to the base of the pan. Keep giving it a stir. You are permitted to prod the remaining tomatoes and squish them one by one but the longer they can cook and break down themselves, the deeper the flavor they provide.

• Right, your water should be boiling for the pasta. Lots of salt, no olive oil, don’t do that. Then get that Pasta in there.

• Now back to the sauce. Add half your pot of marscapone. Stir, stir, stir, until it is evenly distributed in the sauce, and then reduce the heat on the sauce slightly, so that it is lightly simmering. Continue to stir, tasting the back of your spoon and noting the taste. Add salt, black pepper if necessary. For additional tang and richness, finely chop the anchovies and add them to the sauce. We are now in the final steps.

• The tomato skins will be present in the sauce - rolling themselves up as they do like little cigarillos. Its not the most elegant of appearances, but they’re perfectly edible. If you like a chunky sauce, forgo this bit, but if you prefer something thats a bit creamier with a more uniform texture, just use a hand blender to gently pulse the sauce, breaking down any larger remaining chunks of tomato and removing a few of the skins. Stir again and we are basically there.

• Get that pasta off the boil about 1 minute before it feels done, when its still slightly too al dente, and drain it immediately. In the colander liberally hit it with tons of black pepper and toss it with a bit of olive oil, then add it immediately to the sauce pan. Turn off the heat but turn the pasta in the sauce on the stove for about 1 minute, thats its final softening, and then take the sauce and pasta off the heat and continue to stir for another minute or two, which cools the sauce a little and begins to let the tomato flavor and rich fattiness of the sauce come to the fore. Garnish however you choose but you don’t need anything other than black pepper here; this already should be rich and deeply flavorful.

Now eat!

Radiatore with Black Garlic, White Onion and Marscapone Pomodoro
Desmond Wong