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Time for Tomatoes!

Plums on the VineOkay, maybe not quite. But we need to prepare for the day, coming soon, when best of summer comes in by the bushel: Home-grown tomatoes. (Perhaps you think of sweet corn as the best summer has to offer? That’s a close second; dangerously close.)

I notice that plum (Roma) tomatoes are showing up in quantity in the grocer’s, as well as plenty of fresh broccoli. Here’s a quick recipe to try out so you can get in the mood for tomatoes fresh from your garden. Collect the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces small tube pasta, like penne rigate or ziti rigati
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli
  • 1 pound link sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup grated Asiago, Pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
  • some chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat oven to 450° Fahrenheit. Halve the tomatoes, then toss with 2 tablespoons oil, garlic and salt. Place tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until tomatoes are tender. Let the fruit cool a bit, then transfer to a big cutting board and roughly chop the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes are baking, cook the pasta according to directions. Add the broccoli directly to the pasta and water during the last 4 minutes of the cooking; drain. Also, cook the sausage in the last tablespoon of oil until no longer pink. Season with crushed pepper and stir for a minute, then add the tomatoes and stir for long enough to heat through.

Toss the sausage-tomato mixture with the pasta and broccoli. Transfer to a large, oblong serving plate and garnish with cheese & parsley. Serve immediately with toasted Italian bread and a light white wine for a filling, low-calorie meal.

As the month goes on (and my tomato plants begin to set nicely) I’ll drop in some more tasty tomato recipes…

Enjoy the (Red Garden Goodness) Heat!


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