Baked Asparagus Italian-Style
|Thin asparagus||2 Pound (About 28 To 30 Spears)|
|Ripe tomatoes||5 Medium|
|Freshly milled peppercorns||6|
|Garlic||1 Clove (5 gm)|
|Canned tomato paste||6 Ounce|
|Sugar||1 Pinch (Use Small Amount)|
|Grated parmesan cheese||2 Tablespoon|
1 Peel and wash the asparagus (see right) and trim off the tough ends. Tie in a bundle.
2 Heat 9 cups lightly salted water. As soon as it begins to boil, put in the tied asparagus and let boil for 15-20 minutes, depending on the quality of the asparagus (sample one to find out). Drain the asparagus and place on a folded cloth.
3 Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water. Skin them and cut into thin slices. Season with salt and oregano and the milled peppercorns. Let stand for 5 minutes.
4 In the meantime, peel the garlic and crush it completely. Empty the can of tomato paste into a bowl. Add the sugar and stir.
5 Preheat the oven to 375Â°F.
6 Melt the butter and put half in an oval ovenproof dish. Arrange the asparagus and the tomato paste in this dish in alternate layers, finishing with the tomato. Spread this evenly with the back of a knife blade. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on the top so that they cover the surface completely. Sprinkle with the rest of the melted butter and the Parmesan cheese.
7 Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
8 Increase the heat of the oven to 425Â°F. and cook for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese.