It’s that time of the year August 22, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Garden, random stuff.
So I may have mentioned that I’ve got some tomatoes.
Lots of them. Tomatoes in bowls, tomatoes in piles on the counter, tomatoes in bags (for Peeps and me to share with our co-workers!) – the only place we don’t have tomatoes is in the fridge.
Never ever ever store a tomato in the refrigerator. They get mealy and lose their flavor.
I find, as I get older, that I appreciate flavors – not necessarily busy, complex flavors, though there’s definitely a place for that, but clean, simple flavors.
Pure flavors. Tomatoes at their peak of ripeness. Sticky, stinky garlic. Really good olive oil. Fresh herbs.
That combination – tomatoes, herbs, garlic, olive oil – well, doesn’t that tell you to look to a classic Italian-style recipe?
And there’s Lidia Bastianich – and is it weird that whenever I see her, I wonder if she has any tattoos?
Sorry about that, Lidia.
So anyway, we roasted up a mess of tomatoes with some good olive oil, some sea salt and some home-baked baguette crumbs.
(Peeps brings dough home a couple of times a week, and we frequently end up with day-old (or even two-day-old) baguettes lying around. It’s rough.)
We also took a mess of garlic – fresh from the Garlic Guys (the two old guys at the Rochester Public Market who do nothing but sell garlic for about 2 months – then they’re gone until next year) and sauteed it in some good olive oil (also from the Public Market – the GOOD stuff!).
And meanwhile, I scampered out to the herb garden for some parsley and some basil.
Maybe “scampered” isn’t quite the right word – I really don’t scamper much anymore!
I brought in a fair amount of parsley, though, and a goodly amount of basil. Fortunately the heat wave has broken and we’ve gotten a bit of rain – the herbs (and the weeds!) are happy, happy, happy!
We cooked up a box of pasta – I wanted to use the campanelle – and we reserved a cup or so of pasta water.
It turns out that THAT – reserved pasta water – is the best-kept secret of sauced pasta. The starch from cooking helps thicken the sauce, and the water itself helps spread it around.
After tossing the pasta with the parsley, we then added the roasted tomatoes – I used my Juliet tomatoes, quartered, rather than the called-for cherry tomatoes.
Have I told you the sad story of the Juliets?
And really, with a name like Juliet, how could it be anything BUT a sad story?
I intended to buy four of my Beloved JetStar tomato plants, and I picked up one, checked the little name tag, then picked up three more.
Well, the first one was JetStar – but the rest were Juliets.
Now I’ve learned, when tomato shopping, to check Every Single Plant.
Rather than a slew of gorgeous, tasty slicing tomatoes, I have a mess of grape-tomato-sized plum tomatoes.
They’re too small to want to fuss with AND they don’t taste good enough to eat out-of-hand.
So I roasted them, skins and all. It works.
It especially works when you’re mixing those roasted tomatoes with fresh garlic, fresh parsley and basil, and sprinkling some nice Romano cheese on top.
This was definitely a “keeper” recipe – it was delightful the first night, and it was quite nice as leftovers.
I guess I could do a lot worse with fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs, huh?
Here’s the original recipe – do try it. It makes a great meatless meal!