Day 9 – Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato and Garlic

Having never uttered a public political statement in my life, I am about to break my rule. This is as much a shock to me as it is to you, but please bear with me: I have my reasons.

You see, it has something to do with TV cooking shows, or rather , one specific TV cooking show – Kitchen Cabinet. A lot of the show’s charm has to do with my girl-crush, the very clever political journo and extremely good conversationalist, Annabel Crabb. The other attraction is the build it and they will come scenario. Make dessert, take it round to a politician’s place and talk over a great meal.

Which leads me to my first public commentary on politics. I quite like Amanda Vanstone. Now there’s something I thought I would never say.

Specifically I like her forthright views (not that I always agree with them), her candour and her dry as a chip wit. I reckon dinner at her place would be a hoot. And did I mention her cooking ability? She’s very good.

Watching her advocate a simple meal of home-made napoli made with perfect tomatoes with spaghetti helped me to re-appraise my views of her. She cared about produce and cared about preparing it well. If she ever leaves politics completely, she could well start a cooking blog. Now there’s a thought.


Serves 4


  • 1 kg ripe roma tomatoes
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • sea salt to taste
  • pinch sugar
  • 350g dried spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve


Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place halved tomatoes, whole peeled garlic cloves and thyme sprigs on a rack set in a roasting tray. Sprinkle with sugar and sea salt. Bake for one hour.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the packet or until al dente.While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based fry pan and add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat until onion softens and is just starting to turn colour.

Roughly chop the baked tomatoes and garlic and add the tomato, garlic and any captured juices to the onion. Reduce heat to low and stir gently for 5 minutes until the tomato is warmed through.

Drain all but half a cup of water from the pasta and add the hot spaghetti and water to the tomato. Toss well to combine and season to taste with black pepper. Serve with parmesan on the side.


$6.40 for four people

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