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Tomato Mamas

1 medium tomato, cut in half
6 tablespoons bread crumbs
5 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Pinch of garlic powder
2 slices black olive
4 ounces spaghetti, cooked
2 basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Ready to scoop? Use your spoon to dig out the goopy center of each tomato half.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and the garlic powder. How does it smell? Give it a whiff! Fill the holes in the tomato halves with the garlicky mixture. Top the tomato halves with the rest of the parmesan.

4. Use a butter knife to cut the olive slices in half. Place two slices on top of each tomato half for eyes. Place the tomato halves on a baking sheet.

5. Mama Mato now needs a great hairstyle! Place the cooked pasta on the baking sheet in whatever style you'd like -- curlicues, long and straight, or short and sassy. (You'll put the hair on her head after it comes out of the oven.) Kiss the tips of your fingers and say, "Ciao, Mama Mato!" before putting the pan in the oven.

6. Bake Mama Mato for 8 to 12 minutes. While it's baking, see if you can style your hair like Mama Mato's.

7. Transfer the tomato halves to a plate to cool for a few minutes. Tear the top of each basil leaf off and place it under the eyes for a smile. Now add the spaghetti hair to the tomato top to create a super style.

From the book Bean Appetit by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen, with Carisa Dixon

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