I'll admit I was skeptical of this idea we found in Ideas in Food by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. Roasting concentrates flavor— roasted vegetables, I can get behind. Roasted fruit and citrus, too. But pasta is pretty perfect in my mind, so why roast it dry to enhance flavor before cooking and saucing it?
And then I tried it. After roasting for about 10 minutes, it emerged from the oven a golden, almost reddish brown. I then rehydrated it in water in the fridge for a couple hours. Then, I cooked it as I normally would. The result was nutty and toasted, at once foreign and familiar. It was an amped-up version of the food I've probably eaten thousands of times. The texture was strange: very al dente, almost a bit rubbery, but this corrected itself once I paired it with a pan sauce. I was sold.
Arrange 1 pound (453 g) dried bucatini or spaghetti on a roasting pan in an even layer two bucatini deep. Toast in a 350° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
Let cool completely, then place in a plastic bag and add water. Close the bag, pushing out air, and let hydrate in the refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours. Alternatively, you can cook the pasta after it cools—just note it will take longer (more like 15 minutes) than un-roasted pasta, and it will likely not get past the al dente point.
A no-cook ricotta, olive oil, and parsley sauce would be excellent, too.
Have you tried roasting pasta? What do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!
This article originally appeared on March 24, 2016. We're re-running it now because it's such a smart trick, don't you think?
All photos by Bobbi Lin.