Test Kitchen recipe: Spaghetti with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

If you don’t live in the right climate to sun dry tomatoes outdoors, you can pop them in your oven to dry. The payoff: Sweet and leathery tomato pieces that can be added to dishes like today’s Spaghetti with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce.

Here’s all you need to do:

Figure you’ll need several pounds of fresh plum tomatoes. We used 13 plum tomatoes, which gave us about 1 cup of dried tomatoes.

Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Rinse them under cool water and pat dry. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Core them and remove the seeds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes, skin side down, on the pan. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, with the rack in the center. Bake the tomatoes for about 8 to 10 hours for tomatoes about 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smaller tomatoes will take less time; check after about 6 hours. The tomatoes will shrivel to small, flat, leathery pieces about 1 1/2 inches long.

Store the dried tomatoes in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Sun-dried tomatoes can be hard to slice with a knife because of their chewy texture. Scissors work best.

SPAGHETTI WITH CREAMY SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE

Serves: 5

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Note: This recipe is a good source of fiber with 7 g per serving.

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, finely diced

3 Tbsp. real bacon bits

2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2/3 cup fat-free half-and-half

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

1/4 cup red wine

1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added tomato puree

1/2 tsp. dried basil

5 cups hot cooked whole wheat spaghetti

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion, bacon bits, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the half-and-half, sun-dried tomatoes, wine, tomato puree and basil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the pasta according package directions, omitting the salt.

Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and serve.

Created by Darlene Zimmerman for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

325 calories (19 percent from fat), 7 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 54 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 390 mg sodium, 3 mg cholesterol, 94 mg calcium, 7 g fiber. Food exchanges: 3 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 fat.

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