Fall brings the bounty of tomatoes, basil and much more. Older daughter, Megan, told me about a roasted tomato and pesto sauce she made. I tweaked it a bit to serve my tastes. I love the idea of adding pesto to a rich, red tomato sauce. It was delicious and definitely a new recipe for my collection.
ROASTED TOMATO AND PESTO SAUCE
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
3 cups roasted tomatoes and peppers, cooled and blended (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
Cube of pesto (about 1/3 cup)
26.5 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped or blended
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil
1 pound cooked pasta (I used bow tie pasta) and 1 cup of pasta water
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Core and slice tomatoes. Halve and remove seeds from peppers.
- Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on a heavy cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper). Drizzle with Avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.
- Roast at 400 degrees until the edges of the vegetables start to char and are cooked through.
- Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.
- Cook and drain the sausage.Drain and set aside.
- Saute onions in olive oil and when almost cooked through, add the garlic. Continue to salute until garlic is cooked through.
- Add roasted tomatoes and peppers, pesto, San Marzano tomatoes, water, basil and sausage.
- Heat thoroughly.
- Add 1 cup of pasta water to sauce. Stir. Add drained, cooked pasta, and stir to mix thoroughly.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Cinnamon Basil was a garden experiment that produced more than I expected. Now, what do I do with it?
I found this interesting Cinnamon Basil Pesto recipe and decided to try it in three ways:
- Simple spread on a wafer/cracker
- Served on top of a mild cheese (brie, gouda, etc.) and wafer/cracker
- Served on top of a mild cheese with wafer/cracker and drizzled with honey
This fun experiment ended with the pesto, cheese and honey winning my vote!
CINNAMON BASIL DESSERT PESTO
1/3 – 1/2 cup walnut oil
2 cups firmly packed, fresh cinnamon basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (1 oz.)
2 teaspoons raw sugar or packed brown sugar
- In a food processor or blender combine 1/3 cup of the oil, the basil, almonds, coconut, cheese, and sugar. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping and scraping sides as necessary and adding enough remaining oil until of desired consistency.
- If the pesto is not to be served immediately, divide it into three portions. Place each portion in a small airtight container. Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze up to 3 months. Makes about 1-1/3 cups pesto.
Continuing on my lazy days of summer postings, let’s talk about tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes cannot be compared in any way to the mushy, tasteless tomatoes at the grocery store. Comparing the two is like comparing a beautiful rose to a dandelion. Wonder why that’s the case? Read this great article from the University of Illinois Extension office.
Unfortunately, I have regular visitors to my garden helping themselves to my tomatoes. The silly bunny (that isn’t afraid of my Golden or Chihuahua) along with the neighborhood Raccoon are creating havoc with the tomatoes. I find green tomatoes plucked from the vine laying on the ground. I find large red tomatoes half eaten on the vine. Have any of you had the same experience? This is the first time in over 20 years that I’ve had to fight for my own tomatoes!
My tomatoes have been slow to produce this year but I have enjoyed a few fresh tomato salads. This time a juicy sliced tomatoes paired with homemade pesto (basil also from my garden) was the salad du jour.
If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, visit a local Farmer’s Market soon and enjoy the harvest.
For the pesto recipe, reference my posting, Pesto Schmesto.
Caprese Pasta? With smoked mozzarella? OMG…I had to try this recipe found on Iowa Girl Eats. I rarely eat wheat pasta but this was worth the splurge!
Caprese Pasta Skillet
8 oz. bow tie pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sungold (cherry) tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons pesto (reference Pesto recipe or purchase)
1 cup cubed smoked mozzarella cheese (or mini mozzarella balls)
extra basil leaves for garnish
- Prepare pesto and set aside. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until just under al dente then drain and set aside. Place an oven rack to the very top, then preheat broiler.
- Heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add cooked pasta and pesto then toss to combine. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top then place skillet under the broiler until cheese melts. Using a pot holder, remove skillet from oven then sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
Have I told you I love pesto? Fresh ingredients and CHEESE…what’s not to like? My basil did well this year and I’ve enjoyed a few batches of this tasty delight. This year I tried a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats blog. After all, a recipe originating from a cook in my home state of Iowa gets my attention. I like her recipe because it’s small in proportions but you can double, triple, etc. based on your desired volume.
25-28 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper to salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in the food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Slowly stream in the olive oil and pulse until smooth.
Adapted from Pesto by Iowa Girl Eats
Udi’s GF pizza crust (or precooked crust of your liking)
thinly sliced zucchini
slow roast tomatoes (see my post of 9/25/12) or sun-dried tomatoes
turkey or chicken (or omit for vegetarian pizza)
shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Mozzarella)
Layer the ingredients on the pizza crust in the order given. Bake per crust instructions until pizza is hot, cheese is melted. YUMMMMM.
PESTO CAPRESE SALAD
Fresh sliced tomatoes
Fresh sliced buffalo mozzarella
salt & pepper
Layer in order above and enjoy!