Tag Archives: tomato

Pasta with Quick Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula

Tomato Pasta TasteFood

~ Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula, Breadcrumbs, Thyme, Parmigiano, Gemelli ~

Things are heating up in our kitchen. All sorts of treats and sweets are baking for the holidays – plus I am busy with a cookbook project. I’ve been hired to write all of the recipes for a cookbook that will be published in early 2014 (yes, that is how the world of publishing works). More details will follow on that soon, but for now suffice to say that my kitchen is a recipe test center cyclone. With all of the cooking, you would think that a nightly dinner would be a sure thing, but frankly after a long day of developing and writing, I don’t have the where-with-all to whip up anything too complicated – which is something we can all relate to during the holidays.

So, here is an easy, low-budget recipe that uses simple ingredients and may be prepared in 30 minutes with delicious results. It also makes use of those grape tomatoes you can’t resist buying in the middle of the winter when you know better. It’s not the fault of the tomato, of course. They do look irresistable, but looks can be deceiving for out of season tomatoes, even when they are shiny and oh-so-red. This recipe will remedy any buyer’s remorse. A little slow roasting will coax out any hibernating tomato-ness, releasing juices and sugars, and deflating the impossibly pert tomatoes to a more relaxed version of themselves. You can save your buyer’s remorse for bigger things this holiday season.

Tomato Pasta Plate x

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula
Serves 4.

1 pound grape tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of thyme sprigs
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound pasta of your choice (I used gemelli)
2 large handfuls of arugula, about 3 cups

Heat oven to 400 F. Scatter the tomatoes and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the tomatoes. Roast in oven 25 minutes. Remove and reduce oven heat to 350 F.  Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a large serving bowl. Discard the thyme. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the same baking sheet and stir to coat in the olive oil.  Briefly return to the oven and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (they will brown quickly so carefully watch them). Remove and immediately transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl to stop them from further cooking. Cool slightly, then stir in 2 tablespoons cheese.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Add the pasta to the tomatoes, along with the arugula and 1/3 cup cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle with a little more olive oil as desired, and taste for salt. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

I’ll have a shot of vodka with my soup, please.

If heat could speak, then it was shouting this weekend. Summer arrived with a bang, and the temperature soared to triple digits. When it’s that hot, appetites wane and thirst dominates. Food takes on a cool and liquid quality. It’s time for Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is a raw tomato-based soup blended with a vegetable bowl of produce. It’s perfect when the weather is stifling. No cooking is required, the spiced tomato juice quenches thirst, and a confetti of chopped vegetables refresh and nourish. I prefer to keep my gazpacho chunky, taking pleasure in each slurpy mouthful of crunchy vegetables mingling with cool juice. In this recipe, I’ve taken the variation one step further by adding celery, Worcestershire sauce and a generous squirt of Tabasco, thus evoking a Bloody Mary. Why stop there? If you’re in the mood and appropriately mature, serve the soup in a glass and add a shot of vodka for a wondrous beverage/soup/salad in a glass – a perfect antidote for a hot and shouty day.

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

Serves 6 to 8.

1 quart tomato juice
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, stemmed and seeded, diced
2 large celery stalks, finely diced
1 English cucumber, seeds removed, finely diced
1 green or red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Optional garnishes:
Extra-virgin olive oil
Vodka
Fresh lime juice

Combine all of the ingredients except for the parsley and garnishes in a large bowl. Mix together and taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Before serving stir in parsley. If serving as a soup, ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little olive oil. To serve with vodka, mix 1 cup gazpacho with 1 ounce vodka. Pour into a glass and serve cold with fresh lime wedges as a garnish.

Simply Tomato Soup

~ Simply tomatoes … and a little sage, rosemary and Parmigiano ~

I purchased cherry tomatoes at the farmers’ market this afternoon. They were closing up for the day, so when I asked for 3 boxes for $5.00 as scribbled on the cardboard wedged between the heirlooms and cherries, I was handed 5 boxes of orange and red cherry tomatoes. 5 for the price of 3? That’s a farmers market bargain. But then I had to get creative. These tomatoes were super ripe, best eaten as soon as possible. So I made this with the 4 remaining pints – since one box was gobbled up in the car on the way home.

Simply Tomato Soup

There is no straining, seeding or skinning involved in this recipe. It’s all about the whole tomato. I was lucky to find ripe, sweet tomatoes in season – if your tomatoes are not at peak,  adding a spoonful of sugar to the soup works magic.

Makes 7-8 cups.

3 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 rosemary sprigs
2 sage sprigs
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the tomatoes begin to break down and the liquid is bubbling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until tomatoes release all of their juices, stirring occasionally, breaking up any whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick yet soupy. Taste for salt. Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese.

Heirloom Tomato Tartare Verrines

~ Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata, Basil, Crostini ~

Before I fully throw myself into fall, I will share this recipe that takes advantage of the bushels of heirloom tomatoes we are still lucky enough to enjoy. Our warm and sunny early autumn has kept the supply of tomatoes ample and ripe. I am a sucker for heirloom tomatoes, their range of colors, patterns and bulbous shapes are eternally pleasing. In this easy recipe, I dice a variety of tomatoes and serve them in a glass, or verrine, to show off their colors. A dollop of creamy burrata and drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar results in a savory parfait that is as beautiful to look at as delicious to eat.

Considering how fresh and minimal this recipe is, it’s key that you use high quality ingredients. Choose firm yet ripe tomatoes with a range of colors, and be sure to use a good extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.

Heirloom Tomato Tartare Verrines
Makes 6 small appetizers

6 slices of baguette, cut 4 inches in length by 1/4 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, lightly smashed
1 1/2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded, cut in 1/4 inch dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 burrata rounds, approx. 4 ounces
Aged balsamic vinegar
Basil sprigs

Preheat oven broiler. Brush baguette slices with olive oil. Rub with garlic clove. Arrange in one layer on a baking tray. Broil until lightly golden on both sides, turning once. Remove and set aside.
Place diced tomato in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Gently stir to combine. Divide the tomatoes evenly between 6 glasses. Top with a spoonful of Burratta. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Top with a basil sprig. Serve with baguette crostini.

Roasted Provençal Vegetable Salad

~ Roasted Provençal Vegetable Salad with Couscous ~

Consider this as a deconstructed ratatouille – which happens to be oven roasted. The same cast of characters applies, only the method differs. An end of summer symphony of squash, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes are tossed together with olive oil and roasted in the oven until softened and gently charred, instead of simmered and thickened in a pot. The traditional ratatouille stew morphs into a roasted vegetable salad, freshened with a shower of fresh herbs and served over a bed of couscous for a light and healthy meal.

Roasted Provencal Vegetables Salad with Couscous

You may either roast the tomatoes with the vegetables or toss them in at the end for extra freshness. The salad is delicious as is or served over couscous, pasta, or quinoa. Serves 4 -6.

1 medium eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch slices, each slice quartered
2 small zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 small yellow squash, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 large red onion, halved horizontally, each half cut lengthwise in 4 thick chunks
6 baby sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
Optional: Crumbled goat or feta cheese as garnish

Heat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Place all of the eggplant, zucchini, squash and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange on 2 rimmed baking sheets in one layer. Place in oven. Bake until vegetables are tender and turning golden brown, rotating baking pans, to ensure even roasting. Remove from oven and cool. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Add tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs. Toss. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve over couscous. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese if using.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

~
Fresh corn and tomatoes are symbols of summer, right up there with steamy sultry days and perspiring clinking drinks. So it’s no surprise that corn and tomatoes pair perfectly in this casual, summery salad. Their mutual sweetness is differentiated by the milky crunch of fresh corn kernels and the juicy acidity of sweet cherry tomatoes. A shower of parsley keep them grounded along with the bite of sweet red onion and a squirt of lime. This is summer simplicity at its best.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Serves 4

2 ears corn, husked
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch Italian parsley, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the kernels from the corn and place in a bowl. Add the pepper, onion, tomatoes and parsley. Mix to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice. Sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Tomato Confit

Tomato confit a

It’s amazing where you discover the darnedest things: Last week I discovered a recipe for Tomato Confit in the wilderness of a national park. I was on kitchen duty for my daughter’s school outing to a Bay area national seashore. Each autumn the students spend several days immersed in nature, nestled in a camp high in the hills overlooking the Pacific. Kitchen duty is a full-time volunteer position. We rise before dawn and spend the day preparing 4 meals for 80 hungry children and adults. While it’s hard work, it’s great fun in a spectacular setting and rewarding to make the best food possible for all. This year we hired a kitchen manager, Sebastian, an alumni of the school who currently sous-chefs at the acclaimed Napa restaurant Oenotri.  He was easily convinced to trade in his wine country chef whites and come to the beach for a few days to help out his old school.

One night for dinner we prepared an Italian themed menu which included a variety of pasta dishes. Sebastian made a tomato sauce as one of the accompaniments which consisted of heirloom cherry tomatoes, olive oil and salt. It’s was simple and intense. The tomatoes cooked and broke down in a generous amount of oil for an hour or so, resulting in a thickened and rich confit. Delicious with pasta, for sure, yet extremely versatile, I wanted to experiment with the recipe and made a Tomato Confit at home this week. I made a large batch, so I could divide it up and freeze for later use. I saved one cup and used it as a topping for crostini. I think I’ll use my next batch as an extra ingredient in a cheese fondue. I suspect it will be delicious – I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Tomato Confit

Tomato Confit

Cherry tomatoes may be substituted for heirloom cherry tomatoes. Makes 4 cups.

4 pints (about 4 pounds) heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional

Combine tomatoes and olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Simmer over medium-low heat until tomatoes begin to break down, stirring occasionally and breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Continue to cook until all the tomatoes have broken down and sauce is thick, about one hour in all. Add salt and taste for seasoning. If necessary add sugar.

Crostini with Goat Cheese and Tomato Confit:
Cut 8 – 1/2 inch slices of a baguette. Brush slices with olive oil and bake in a 400 F. oven until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, 1 minced garlic clove and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl. Spread goat cheese on each baguette. Top with a teaspoon of tomato confit. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Pasta with Tomato Confit:
Bring 1 cup tomato confit, 1 cup heavy cream, 2 rosemary sprigs and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove rosemary sprigs. Toss with 1 pound freshly cooked penne and 1/2 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese.

Tomato Confit Crostini

Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart


Tomato Tart

Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart
updated from the TasteFood archives, because it’s on the menu tonight:

Early September brings beautiful tomatoes, their sunny colors cheerily keeping autumn at bay, reminding us that summer is not yet finished.  Sweet, juicy, sunkissed heirlooms, early girls, and cherries promise to bring a little sunshine to our dinner plates while the days grow shorter, cooler and crisper.

This Tomato Tart is an easy, light dinner for a busy weekday night that takes advantage of the kaleidescope of cherry tomatoes falling in our gardens and showcased in the market. The tart’s ease of preparation is, in part, due to the usage of store-bought frozen puff pastry dough.  I confess that as much as I try to homemake everything, homemade pastry (unless made well ahead of time and frozen) doesn’t conveniently figure into a spontaneous week night meal.  Fortunately, high quality frozen pastry dough is available in many stores.  I buy mine at Whole Foods, and while the price is not cheap, I see it as a break-even when considering the cost of the ingredients and time I would need to make it myself.  However, if you do have time on your side (lucky you!) and would like to make your own pastry, one of my go-to recipes for quick puff pastry is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.


Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart
Serves 4 as a light meal or 6-8 as a side dish

1 sheet (11 oz./300 g.) frozen puff-pastry dough, thawed
1 1/2 pounds (750 g.) cherry tomatoes, multi-colored if possible, halved lengthwise
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspons fresh marjoram

Prepare tart:
Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.)
Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Pierce dough all over with a fork, leaving a 1 inch border intact.  Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking tray and refrigerate 15 minutes.
Bake in oven until lightly golden, 12-15 minutes.  Remove from oven, but do not turn off heat.
Arrange tomato halves, cut-side up, on crust, leaving the 1″ border clear. Drizzle tart with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.  Remove tart from oven, and transfer to serving platter.  Garnish with fresh marjoram (or basil) and serve immediately.

For a complete rustic meal serve with a wedge of soft, runny Camembert or Taleggio cheese, thick slices of pain paysan and a salad of mixed seasonal greens.

Pasta Provençal with Basil, Sweet Pepper, Tomatoes and Olives

Provencal Pasta Salad

When the weather is hot and sticky, no one wants to cook. At this time it’s nice to have a few recipes on hand for easy, light, flavorful meals that reflect the season and little heat. Pasta Provençal does just that. It takes advantage of late summer’s bounty of vegetables without being too complicated. While this recipe calls for sweet peppers, tomatoes and basil, feel free to experiment with grilled eggplant, zucchini or yellow squash. The beauty of this recipe is that it is fresh and unfussy, perfect for a warm and sultry summer evening.

Pasta Provençal with Basil, Sweet Pepper, Tomatoes and Olives

Serve with a green salad and cold rosé wine.
Serves 4-6.

1 pound farfalle
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded, ribs removed, cut in matchsticks
2 cups small cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted, halved
1 fresh mozzarella, shredded
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 bunch, about 1/2 cup, fresh basil leaves, shredded

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl.  Toss with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add red pepper, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and garlic. Toss to combine. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add cheese and basil, and gently toss. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra grated cheese.

Heirloom Tomato Tartare with Balsamic Syrup

Heirloom Tomato Tartare

Presentation does make a difference – not only in terms of visual appeal, but also in taste. Heirloom Tomato Tartare takes the ingredients of a simple tomato and basil salad, and, with some dicing and stacking, results in a colorful and refined appetizer. Heirloom tomatoes of various colors are diced and combined with finely chopped kalamata olives and shallots. The confetti of tiny morsels allows for satisfying mouthfuls bursting with sweet tomato, briny olive and sharp shallot. Try it – you’ll like it.

Tomato Tartare tf

In this recipe I have topped the tartare with a spoonful of creamy burrata and basil.  If you don’t want to splurge on burrata, try a small wedge of buffalo mozzarella.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with Balsamic Syrup. While the ingredients are the same as you will find in a Caprese Salad, the presentation is refreshingly different.

Heirloom Tomato Tartare with Balsamic Syrup
Serves 6

6 medium-large heirloom tomatoes, ripe but firm (choose different tomatoes for color variation)
10 Kalamata olives, pitted, diced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 buffalo mozzarella or burrata
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic Syrup (see below)

Prepare tartare:
Cut tomatoes in half.  Remove and discard seeds, juice and ribs if mealy.  Cut in 1/4″ dice.  Combine diced tomatoes, olives and shallot in a large bowl.  Add salt and pepper.
Arrange 1/2 cup of tomatoes in a stacked circle in center of a serving plate. Cut mozzarella in half and divide each half into 3 wedges.  Gently place wedge on top of tomatoes. If using burrata, carefully pull apart a small portion of the cheese, without too much liquid, and arrange on top of tomatoes.
Drizzle tomatoes and cheese with olive oil. Garnish with a basil leaf.  Serve with balsamic syrup either drizzled on the plate around the tomatoes, or in a small cup to the side.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Balsamic Syrup:
Bring one cup every-day quality balsamic syrup to a boil (don’t use the fancy one).  Simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.