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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Too Many Tomatoes? (What's Cookin', Part Four)

I first got turned on to cooking seasonally after reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. One of my favorite sections describes what happens to her family as they "drown in tomatoes" during peak tomato season in late summer.

With only two tomato plants in the little condo garden next to my home (planted by my great housemate), I can't say I'm drowning, exactly... but earlier this week I picked a half pound of tomatoes for my dinner (used in the recipe below) and then two days later was able to pick another two pounds to bring with me for a weekend trip with friends to Lake Arrowhead, where I contributed homemade pizza sauce for dinner on Saturday night. That's a lotta tomatoes in my world.

But if I can keep making meals like this newest recipe, I will welcome the bounty. Homegrown tomatoes taste nothing like store-bought ones -- so sweet and flavorful. What I liked best about this recipe was discovering the wonder of making roasted tomatoes. I threw in a couple of my own twists to this recipe from Martha Stewart -- try your own additions. Go crazy!

(adapted from Martha Stewart)


1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes (I used a combo of Romas and cherry tomatoes)
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, plus more for serving, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound short pasta, such as orecchiette (I used Trader Joe's brown rice fusilli - you want something with a lot of shape so that the sauce can grip on to it)
My additions: 3 whole garlic cloves (peeled); 1 tablespoon cream cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes, capers, garlic cloves and oregano with oil and season with salt. Roast until tomatoes burst and begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain.

Return pasta and 1/4 cup pasta water to pot and add tomato mixture. Cook over high until sauce is slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until sauce becomes a light red, almost pinkish color. If necessary, add remaining pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta. Serve sprinkled with oregano.

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