Am I the only one who refuses to acknowledge that we’re halfway through fall? In my mind, as long as the farmer’s market is open, it’s still summer. Sort of. Just turn a blind eye to all the squash and pumpkins and lack of corn and tomatoes, and you’re all set…
Before I move on to the second great love of my life (food, of course), some news about my first love, and an explanation as to why I’ve gone missing from blogging for the past few weeks:
Reverting to my usual calm demeanor now. Wow, I can’t even type that with a straight face. Exciting stuff. No date set/wedding details as of yet, but suffice it to say good food will be involved.
Before I move on to new things, though, let’s hang on to the summer farmer’s market for just a moment longer. In the midst of being overrun by tomatoes, I ran across a recipe for Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce, here and here. For my version, I did a combination of the two recipes, relying on heirloom grape tomatoes and torchio pasta from Italy. (As an aside — I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not really that good of a cook…but I sure know good ingredients, and they make all the difference. Thanks, Mom!)
Check out how BEAUTIFUL these tomatoes are!
Ready to cook now? Preheat your oven to 400° F. Start with some good fresh tomatoes of your choice, halving, quartering or generally chopping as needed to end up with pieces no larger than 1″ square. Place in a single layer in a glass baking dish with some olive oil.
Top with equal parts panko and grated Parmigiano, a few cloves of diced garlic, salt & pepper, then bake for 20 minutes. Start a pot of water and cook your chosen pasta according to the package directions in the meantime.
Now for the fun part. Once your tomatoes are done cooking, use a fork to mush your roasted tomatoes and breadcrumbs together. If you’ve used an heirloom variety, you will have a great time playing with color.
Finally, mix in the cooked pasta, add some chopped fresh basil, and serve with passed Parmigiano. Gorgeous! And best of all, easy.
In a final swan song, I also whipped up my grandmother’s Tomato Casserole and put it in the freezer to have as a special treat for my birthday in late January. Recipe below…
Escalloped Tomatoes Somerset (Tomato Casserole)
- 3 c. diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 c. common crackers, rolled (can substitute oyster crackers or saltines)
- 3 T. diced onions
- 2 T. diced green peppers
- 1/2 c. diced celery
- 1 c. common cheese (i.e. cheddar), cut fine
- 1/4 c. melted butter
- 1/4 t. paprika
- 1/2 t. salt
Make sure that everything has been chopped FINE. Combine all ingredients and turn into a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350° degrees for 20 minutes.
As an aside, a Google search for “Scalloped Tomatoes” will bring up many, many iterations of an Ina Garten version of this casserole, as poularized by Smitten Kitchen. It looks fine and all (almost a combination of the two recipes here?), and who am I to argue with a Contessa, but… she’s wrong. This is the recipe to make. Because my grandmother makes it. And NO ONE can argue with my grandmother.
Ah. OK, maybe I can move on to squash dishes now that I’ve got all that tomato goodness out of my system. Just as soon as I get back from the beach. Isn’t denial wonderful?