Posts Tagged ‘cherry tomatoes’

Unrecipe of the Week: Fresh Pasta with Zucchini and Roasted Tomatoes

June 1, 2015

Isn’t it funny how once the weather changes, my palatte changes with it? I suddenly can’t get enough tomatoes, corn, basil and zucchini. My spiralizer becomes my best friend, allowing me to morph a zucchini into noodles with the quick turn of a handle. Two minutes in a pan and I have a tasty base that gets me past my pasta craving most days. Except yesterday.

Home Made Pasta

Home Made Pasta

I made homemade fettuccine in the late afternoon, and tucked it away until dinner time. The dough gave me a run for my money…it was too dry, so I added a little olive oil and water and kneaded it into submission. When I started to put it through the pasta machine (the old fashioned hand crank type is all I use,) I felt like something magical had happened. The dough reacted perfectly, and didn’t require untangling or adding flour to prevent the cut pasta from sticking together. After 2 or 3 minutes in boiling salty water, I had a big bowl of the lightest, most delicate fettuccine I had ever made. It easily held its own against the fresh pastas I have had in fine restaurants here or in Italy. I had to give in and taste it.

Don’t let people trick you into believing that fresh pasta is always superior to the dried varieties. Fresh pasta is more delicate, and takes to simpler, oil based sauces. The dried types do the heavy lifting, and should be used for tomato sauces, especially those with meat, which could overpower many freshly made pastas. I tossed ours in a garlic and basil puree with lots of parmesan cheese and topped it off with my latest obsession, oven roasted cherry tomatoes. They become so sweet they are like eating candy.

This dinner is so simple to make that you can prepare the components and go sit around and relax until dinner time. At least that is what I did.

If you can’t get fresh pasta (many stores carry it in the refrigerator case ) and don’t feel like making your own, it will still be good with the boxed kind. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to shave your zucchinni into ribbons. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender, or buy a bottle of pesto sauce. The beauty of an unrecipe is keeping it simple and making it your own. Do roast the tomatoes though. Its totally worth the minimal effort.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

For the tomatoes:

Rinse and dry a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes.  Toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper, and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until they are starting to caramelize, but not burnt or dehydrated. Turn the pan about half way through and give it a shake to ensure more even cooking. You can also sprinkle some dried or fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano on them before roasting.

For the basil oil: 

Place the leaves of one bunch of basil and a clove or two of garlic into the food processor, and process until finely minced. (Traditional pesto has pine nuts in it. If you would like to use nuts, add them now and mince thoroughly.)Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube with the machine running, until it forms a loose paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap that lays right on the surface of the food to avoid it turning brown. (* Traditional pesto has the parmesan integrated into the sauce. You can add it now if you prefer. I like the consistency of the basil puree without the cheese for this purpose, but it is your choice. If using jarred pesto, it will already be in there.)

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

For the zucchini:
Saute the zucchini noodles in a little olive oil until starting to soften, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the pureed basil oil and mix well. If it is a little thick, add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to thin it down.

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

To assemble:
Cook the pasta according to directions, or about 2-3 minutes if homemade, and drain.

Place the pasta in a bowl. Spoon the zucchini on top, and sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese. Place the oven roasted tomatoes on top, and enjoy!!!

Pasta photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Zucchini Noodles With Deconstructed Pesto and Tomatoes

September 3, 2014

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It’s the end of the season, and perhaps (no promises) the end of my posts about spiralized zucchini.  I admit it; I’m obsessed! It’s easy, it’s healthy, it tastes great and it is the perfect substitute for pasta.

I also love deconstructing pesto. In a classic pesto, the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese are all minced and mixed together. In this version, only the basil and garlic are emulsified, and the pinenuts and shaved parmesan are added separately, to give the dish a more interesting texture.

Zucchini Noodles With Deconstructed Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes:

Spiralize the zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you really need to get one, but in the meantime you can use a vegetable peeler, or the julienne blade on a mandolin or food processor to prepare the zucchini.

Now do you want one? Moving along….

Place the leaves from one head of basil into the work bowl of the food processor with a few garlic cloves and pulverize. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.

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Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add zucchini noodles and quickly sauté them for a couple of minutes until they are heated through and barely softened. Stir in the basil oil mixture until the noodles are fully coated. Add several handfuls of toasted pine nuts, a quart of cherry tomatoes cut in half, and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, toss with shaved parmesan cheese and enjoy!

photos: indigo jones instagram and hyperlapse video

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Unrecipe of the Week: Tomato Tart

August 30, 2013

This delicious tart is a great way to feature the last tomatoes of the season. Served as a main dish with a salad, or as an appetizer, this savory tart features heirloom tomatoes, basil and soft goat cheese.

Tomato Tart with Basil and Goat Cheese:

Roll out pate brisee and place it in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Find our basic pastry recipe here.

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Make a basil puree out of fresh basil leaves, and clove of garlic. Pulse them in the food processor until they are finely diced. With the machine running, add olive oil until it makes a loose, spreadable paste. Spread this on the bottom of the tart crust.

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Place heirloom cherry tomatoes cut in half in concentric circles on top of the basil mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brush lightly with olive oil.
Bake in a hot (425 degree) oven for about 40 minutes or so. At this point, the crust will start to turn golden, and the tomatoes will begin to shrivel a bit.

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Sprinkle soft goat cheese on the tart and continue to bake until the cheese melts and the crust reaches the desired shade of golden brown; about 10 more minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and cut into wedges. Serve with a side of mixed greens and enjoy!!

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Community Supported Agriculture

September 12, 2012

I just got my first CSA package and I am so excited!
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and each Tuesday between now and mid December, I will pick up a selection of produce, which comes from a local farm.

Today’s bounty was pretty straightforward:

6 potatoes

6 onions

4 ears of corn

1 head of lettuce

2 pounds of plum tomatoes

16 heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 bunch of lemongrass

Hmmm. Lemongrass. There is the challenge I have been hoping for!

When I signed up for this program last spring, my goals were to support a local farm, always have fresh produce on hand, and to expand my horizons by having to experiment with a vegetable or fruit I was not used to using.
I am going to spend a little quality time with my Asian-fusion cookbooks, and will share my recipe(s) using lemongrass with you shortly.

Unrecipe of the Week

May 23, 2012

Are you looking for a healthy, tasty salad that packs a ton of flavor? Look no further.

This Kale Salad has edamame and chickpeas for protein, and dried cranberries for a sweet touch. The zesty lemon dressing ties it all together beautifully.

Cleaning the kale takes a bit of work, but one bunch yields a lot.

Lemony Kale Salad:

For the salad:

Cut the ribs out of a bunch of kale, and chiffonade* it into small, narrow pieces.

Add a handful each of fresh mint leaves and fresh basil leaves, also chiffonade cut.

Toss in about 1/2 cup each of chickpeas and steamed, shelled edamame.

Add several cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, and a large handful of dried cranberries.

For the dressing:

Mix the juice of 1 lemon with several tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and about 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried basil. Mix in a garlic clove that has been pressed but not chopped. Whisk the dressing well and allow it to sit to let the flavors develop.

Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy!

*To chiffonade: stack the leaves on top of one another and roll them up. Slice the roll into thin pieces. Gently separate the strips.

Unrecipe of the Week

December 29, 2009

I just watched the film Julie & Julia, and was completely taken with Julie Powell, a passionate home cook and blogger. Sound like anyone we know?

Previously, I was not familiar with Julia Child’s story. She too, took a passion and her need to find fulfillment and turned it a career. Both women had the tenacity to stick with their dream until they were able to make it come true.

This week’s Unrecipe pays homage to the Julie/Julia’s of the world, and was inspired by a recipe in Baking With Julia, by Julia Child and Dorie Greenspan. It is the perfect hors d’oeuvre for New Year’s Eve. Simple, and satisfying; a classic snack made elegant through the use of puffed pastry and goat cheese. I made these Sunday night and they were scarfed right up!

Puffed Pastry Pizzettes, with Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese

Slightly thaw a sheet of frozen puffed pastry and roll it out on a lightly floured surface, so that it is a little thinner.

Cut into 2” rounds.( I used a shot glass for this!)

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place a thick slice of cherry tomato on each round.

Top with crumbled goat cheese, and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Press the topping down slightly, so it does not come off in baking.

Place in a 350-degree oven for about 12-15 minutes until puffed, and lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and gently brush them with a little olive oil, and a bit of chopped, fresh basil.

Raise your glass to Julia, and enjoy!

photo: glasshouse images


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