Gently baking rutabaga preserves its subtle vegetal nuance, which would be easily overpowered by caramelization in a roasting scenario.
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
2 teaspoons coarsely ground coffee beans
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
5/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds rutabaga, peeled, halved crosswise, and cut into wedges
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 tablespoon thyme, coffee beans, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl. Place tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle coffee mixture over tomatoes; toss to coat. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a rack placed inside a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until skins begin to pull away from sides of tomatoes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Peel tomatoes; discard peels. Place tomatoes in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to loosen to saucy consistency.
Combine rutabaga and 1/3 cup water in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover dish with foil. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until tender.
Transfer hot rutabaga to a large bowl using a slotted spoon; add butter to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss until butter melts. Add half of tomato sauce; toss to coat. Top servings with remaining sauce and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves. Serve immediately.