Pasta Fresca (Fresh Tomato Sauce)

Pasta Fresca (Fresh Tomato Sauce)
Serves 4
  1. 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  2. 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  3. 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
  4. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  5. salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  6. 1 lb. fusilli, bow-tie or penne pasta
  7. 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  8. grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Set aside 1 cup of the chopped tomatoes and 2 of the basil leaves. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining tomatoes and basil with the garlic and olive oil until smooth. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  2. When the water comes to a rolling boil, drop in the pasta, re-cover the pot, and return to a boil. Uncover and cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cut the reserved basil leaves into thin strips.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and toss it immediately with the mozzarella cubes. Add the sauce and mix well. Top with the reserved tomatoes and basil, and grated cheese if desired.
  4. Serve immediately.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce

Pasta with Tomato-Blue Cheese Sauce
  1. 1 ½ pounds pasta (angel hair or thin spaghetti)
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  5. dash of sugar
  6. salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  7. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  8. 3/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
  9. 3/4 cups heavy cream
  10. 4 cups baby spinach
  11. half and half, for thinning
  12. extra blue cheese crumbles, for garnish
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add minced garlic and cook for a minute. Pour in drained tomatoes. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Stir in crumbled blue cheese. Add cream and stir, then a little splash of half-and-half if sauce is too thick. Cook for a minute or two, tasting and adding more seasonings as needed.
  3. At the very, very, very last minute. toss in spinach. Immediately toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately!
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 baguette, cut into 1” cubes (6 cups)
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1” cubes
  5. 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, sliced ½” thick
  6. 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1” cubes
  7. 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1” cubes
  8. ½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  9. 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  10. 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  1. 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  2. ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  4. ½ cup good olive oil
  5. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  6. ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season the salad liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about ½ hour for the flavors to blend.
Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties
Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
  1. 1 pound green beans
  2. 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  3. 1 can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  4. 1 large shallot
  5. 3 T. red wine vinegar
  6. salt
  7. freshly ground pepper
  8. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. basil or other herb, optional
  1. Trim green beans and parboil them in salted water until tender. Drain and immediately spread them to cool. Cut tomatoes in half. These steps can be done in advance.
  2. For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot finely and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes with the vinaigrette; this can sit awhile.
  3. Do not add green beans or cannellini beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. Garnish with basil or another herb.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

For the Love of Tomatoes by Heidi Kise

My love for tomatoes developed at a young age. Undoubtedly our family garden had a little something do with it. We had an enormous garden every year that was home to everything from radishes to potatoes and always a plethora of tomatoes. My Dad was the main caretaker for this masterpiece. He was meticulous about the layout, spacing and weeding. He carefully and masterfully nurtured our garden all summer long. All of us kids begrudgingly helped out here and there. Enjoying the harvest as a family was the part we all loved. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of enjoying my Dad’s harvest of tomatoes will concur that his tomatoes are a little slice of heaven. I still savor each and every tomato that he gives me, often eating it with just a little sea salt. When I think back to those harvest days, I think of dinner on the patio that includes of my mom’s cucumber salad, BLTs, and cantaloupe. Still a favorite summertime meal of mine.

HeidiTomatoes1Having my own real garden for the very first time this summer has been a fun and interesting experience for my family. Everyone had a chance to choose a few items to plant…cucumbers for Katie, beans for Leo, zucchini for Ken and tomatoes for everyone! The kids, my Dad, my neighbors and the internet have helped plant our garden and we have watched plants grow, blossom, and bear fruit. Tonight the kids ate freshly plucked organic beans from the garden, raw. They were over the moon excited and my daughter asked if she could take them to school in her lunch. In addition to the beans, ironically, my Dad was here today to see the very first ripe tomato plucked from our garden! Thanks to my Dad, I know what ripe tastes like. And thanks to my Dad, my kids will also know where their food comes from and know what a real tomato tastes like.

Produce like this, eaten at its prime, needs little to dress it up. One of my favorite things to make is a batch of basil oil to enhance mayo for a BLT or to drizzle over either prosciutto and melon or tomato caprese. Take 10 minutes to make a batch and let me know how you like to use it!

Basil Oil
  1. 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  2. ½ cup grapeseed oil
  3. 1/8 t. kosher salt
  1. In a medium bowl, add a cup of ice and fill with cold water.
  2. Drop basil leaves in small pot of boiling water and turn off heat.
  3. Immediately remove basil from hot water, strain and plunge into the prepared ice bath.
  4. After a few minutes, strain basil and squeeze dry between two dinner plates.
  5. Add basil, oil and salt to your blender. Blend until smooth.
  1. I like to use this flavorful oil as is unless I’m catering a fancy party, then I strain the beautiful, bright green oil through a cheese cloth.
  2. Store in refrigerator in a mason jar for up to 3 days.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh

Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh
Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes
  1. 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  2. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  3. freshly ground black pepper, to taste (about 5 grinds)
  4. ½ t. kosher salt
  5. 2-3 T. za’atar, to taste
Za’atar Roasted Tomato Crostini with Labeneh
  1. 1 long, narrow baguette
  2. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 T. za’atar
  4. 1 t. kosher salt
  5. few grinds of black pepper
  6. 1 cup labeneh, or substitute Greek yogurt
  7. 1 recipe Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes, recipe above
Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes
  1. Line a heavy sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the tomatoes in half. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and stir until they are well-coated. Place the tomatoes on the sheet pan, cut-side up, and top each with a pinch of za’atar.
  2. Roast the tomatoes in a 275 degree oven for about 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes. The tomatoes are done when they are meltingly soft and slightly shriveled. They can be used warm or cooled to room temperature.
To Make & Assemble Crostini
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice the baguette into ½” slices. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, and season them lightly with za’atar, salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on a sheet pan and bake for about 10 min, turning them over when the tops are light golden brown. Bake until both sides are golden brown.
  2. Place a dollop of well-stirred labeneh (or greek yogurt) on each crostini. Top the labeneh with 2- roasted tomato halves, then dust everything with more of the za’atar.
  3. Serve immediately!
Adapted from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
Adapted from Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart

Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart
Yields 2
Tart Shell
  1. 12 T. butter, cold
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. ½ t. salt
  4. ¼ t. baking powder
  5. 4 ½ oz. cream cheese, cold
  6. 2 T. ice water
  7. 1 T. cider vinegar
  1. 2 T. oil
  2. 2 T. butter
  3. 1 t. salt
  4. 3 sweet onions
  5. 1 t. thyme
  6. Mixed cherry tomatoes
  7. 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  8. 1 cup Manchego cheese
  1. Cut butter into cubes, wrap in saran wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
  2. Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a gallon plastic bag and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, blend the flour mixture for a minute.
  4. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add the flour mixture. Process for a minute or so until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add frozen butter cubes and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add the water and vinegar and pulse another 10-12 times.
  5. Spoon the crumbly mixture into 2 Ziploc bags. Knead mixture until it holds together.
  6. Wrap with saran, flatten into a rectangle and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  7. In a large nonstick sauté pan, add the oil, butter, salt, onions and thyme over medium high heat. Stir often for 10 minutes. If onions begin to brown at all, turn temperature down. After 10 minutes, drop temperature to low and continue sautéing for 20 more minutes until tender.
  8. Roll out dough and press into tart shells. Prick with a fork, 8 times. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  9. Bake empty shells for 15 minutes.
  10. Add ½ the cheese to each tart shell; top with ½ the onions, then half of the tomatoes.
  11. Cover the crust edges with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Pasta with Tomato Water, Basil and Garlic

Pasta with Tomato Water, Basil and Garlic
Serves 4
  1. 4 ripe tomatoes, large dice
  2. 1 - 1 1/2 t. coarse kosher salt
  3. 12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
  4. 10 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 cup basil, cut into ribbons
  6. 3 ounces butter, cut into chunks
  7. Olive oil, as needed
  8. Parmesan, grated (optional)
  1. Season the tomatoes with the salt and toss them well.
  2. Put a big pot of water on to boil. When it comes to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Smash the garlic with the flat side of a knife, give it all a few rough chops with the knife and set them a side in a small bowl. Cut the basil into ribbons or roughly chop it. Take a pinch of this basil, chop it finely, and add it to the tomatoes to season the tomato water.
  4. Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook it until it is just beginning to brown around the edges and soften, a couple minutes. (Watch carefully so that it doesn't burn) Pour the tomatoes into a strainer over the garlic so that the tomato water will stream into the pan below. Set the strainer with the tomatoes into the bowl so they don’t drip on the counter, and swirl the sauce to bring it to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain it.
  6. Add the butter while continuing to swirl or stir the sauce. Keep the sauce moving until all the butter is melted. Add the pasta and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Divide the pasta among four bowls and top with the tomatoes and basil. Add Parmesan if desired.
Adapted from Michael Ruhlman
Adapted from Michael Ruhlman
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

What’s (almost) Better Than a BLT? by Carolyn Raber

I LOVE a good Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich……lots of crispy bacon, crunchy lettuce, and a big, thick slice of a flavorful, homegrown tomato. And now that I’ve discovered Campari tomatoes at the grocery store, I can enjoy BLTs all year round.  In case you are not familiar with Camparis, they are smaller than most tomatoes but taste like tomatoes are supposed to taste, and are always available. Even Chef Paul Lindemuth agrees.

PPLTsEditNow, you wonder, how can this beloved sandwich meet its match? My husband and I recently returned from our road trip to Colorado to meet our brand new grandson.  While all of our time was spent with him and his over-the-moon parents, I made sure to bring back some luscious Colorado peaches and have enjoyed them every day since, including this new sandwich from Fine Cooking magazine – Peach, Pancetta, Lettuce, and Tomato. I am sharing this flavorful twist and sweet note that challenges an old favorite.  Now I’m off to make another PPLT!

Peach, Pancetta, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches
Serves 4
  1. 8 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
  2. 8 slices bread, toasting optional
  3. 1-2 T. mayonnaise
  4. 2 medium ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  5. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1 large ripe peach, pitted and thinly sliced
  7. 4 leaves Boston lettuce
  1. Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the pancetta on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil until crisp, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Spread the mayonnaise on 4 slices of bread/toast. Layer on the pancetta, peaches, tomatoes, and lettuce. Spread mayonnaise on one side of remaining pieces of bread/toast and place on top. Enjoy!
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Too-Easy-For-A-Recipe Tomato Ideas

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Cherry Tomato and Roasted Garlic Bread Spread
For a delicious spread, place a branch of cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic cloves, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and snipped fresh herbs in an oven-safe serving dish. Roast in a 400° oven just long enough to slightly wilt the tomatoes. Spread on toasted bread.

Baby BLT
Spread toast points with mayonnaise and top with Roma tomato slices, arugula, and bacon.

Heirloom Salad
Arrange a variety of sliced heirloom tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with snipped chives, sea salt, and pepper.

Boursin Bites
Cut bite-size pear tomatoes in half; top with Boursin cheese and snipped basil.

Tiny Tarts
Fill mini phyllo shells with a spoonful of Brie and top with chopped, seasoned tomatoes. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes and serve immediately.

Hot Kebabs
Thread cherry tomatoes, pitted Kalamata olives, and cubed Halloumi cheese or feta on metal skewers. Grill over medium heat until warmed through.

Creamy Tomato Sauce
Puree 2 parts chopped tomatoes with 1 part plain yogurt plus lemon juice, salt, and dill to taste.  Serve on grilled salmon.

Tomato Toss
Mix hot cooked pasta with chopped seasoned tomatoes tossed with olive oil, garlic, and chopped basil. Top with grated Parmesan.

Cool Stuffed Tomato
Fill hollowed-out tomatoes with colorful pasta or rice salad.

Salsa Snack
Combine chopped tomatoes, green onion, pineapple, red sweet pepper, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, and cilantro. Serve with quesadillas.

Beefsteak Salad
Arrange slices of tomato and grilled steak on a plate. Top with red onion slices, blue cheese, crumbled bacon, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Pesto Bites
Fill hollowed-out cherry tomatoes with pesto. Serve chilled or at room temperature.