Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Hey there–  We have the end of the tomato crop in the house and happily, had saved this beautiful pasta sauce recipe from my blog-buddy Mollie at The Frugal Hausfrau .  I think you’d love here recipes, bright, super practical and always something you’d love to have on your table.

And have to say I love that dinner was ready in about 15 minutes!!  Make a simple salad (greens, nectarine, feta) while the tomatoes cook and dinner’s on the table before you know it.

All to say, this was our dinner tonight, thanks to Larry, the tomato farmer, and Mollie, the recipe inventor.  And it was delicious!

FRESH TOMATO PASTA SAUCE
8 oz. pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1  1/2 tab. tomato paste
1  1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
(We mixed a few varieties, including orange cherry tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch sugar (optional)
2 tab. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan
garnish: more parmesan and a sprig of basil

Start the water for pasta and cook it while you make the sauce. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Then put in the onion and cook a couple minutes until it’s tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then add in the tomato paste and cook a minute more.

Finally drop in the tomatoes, pepper, sugar and salt if you think you need a bit of saltiness.  Cook 5 or 6 minutes until the tomatoes release their juices to form a sauce.  Add in the parmesan and cook a minute more.  Stir in the basil.

Spread he pasta on a platter and top with with the sauce.  Garnish with a sprig of basil and more parmesan if you like!  Delish!  Thanks Mollie!

 

Peaches, Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Hi all– Isn’t August a great eating month??  The tomatoes are ripe and sweet– and peaches, my favorite fruit.  It seems like those peaches are only here for a few weeks ruddy and ripe.  So we’ve been eating both, in just about any form we can get them.

Made up this plate of tomatoes & Peaches with cheese when my siblings came in for Mom’s 86th birthday.  Along with a garlicky grilled tri-tip and a bright green salad and a hearty loaf of bread.  It was a real summer meal.

PEACHES, TOMATO & FRESH MOZZARELLA SALAD

Salad:
2 ripe peaches, pitted & sliced
2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes
2 or 3   4 oz. balls of fresh mozzarella
sprigs of fresh basil
serve with chunks of crusty bread on the side

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. honey

So simple.  Arrange the peaches, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a platter. Whisk together the dressing until well blended.

Pour dressing over it all when you’re ready to eat.  Lovely served with chunks of crusty bread to sop up the dressing.

Parmesan Mushroom Chicken

 

Hello to you — Here’s dinner a few nights ago.  Being of the mind that you can’t have too many chicken for dinner recipes handy, here’s a good one to add to your list.

We had it with roasted small golden potatoes chunked up, and the chicken and potatoes can can cook together in the oven, while you finish the sauce, set the table, change the laundry, make a salad, check on the kids, do that quick phone call…  As many multitasking things as you can fit into 20 minutes!!

It’s a yummy, practical, family friendly meal.  I think you’d like it!

PARMESAN MUSHROOM CHICKEN
2 tab. olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin removed*
Garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. sliced brown mushrooms
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup parmesan romano
2 tab. fresh basil or marjoram, chopped**
Basil or marjoram for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet.  Liberally sprinkle the chicken thighs with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drop them in the hot oil to brown– about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and put them in a baking dish.  Put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

While they are cooking, make the sauce.  In the same skillet, saute the sliced mushrooms and garlic in the pan juices in the skillet for just a couple minutes.  Remove them and set them aside.

Then in the skillet bring the chicken broth to a boil.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup water until it is thoroughly blended.  Pour it into the boiling broth and stir until it thickens into a creamy sauce.  Lower the heat and stir in the parmesan and fresh chopped basil.

When the chicken is done in the oven nestle the pieces back in the skillet of sauce and leave it on a low simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to mix the flavors.

Then move the chicken to a platter, top with the mushrooms and a little sauce (serve the rest of the sauce on the side).  Garnish with basil leaves.

*You can leave the skin on if you prefer.
** I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in our side yard.

 

Simple Pasta Sauce

Hello pasta lovers– I’m with you on this– what’s more warming and homey tan a bowl of pasta with a fresh tangy sauce??

Saw this recipe in a Food & Wine magazine and realized I had all I needed on hand in the kitchen.  That’s what’s so nice about it– no fancy ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes.  Perfect for a busy weekday dinner.

SIMPLE PASTA SAUCE
your favorite pasta
2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
salt
1 tab. butter
1 tsp. dried basil
garnish: parmesan & fresh basil or marjoram*

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot.  Add in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it is soft.  Add in the grated carrot and minced garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and salt to taste.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes, covered with a lid.

While it’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta (we did fresh tortellini).

Then stir the butter and basil into the sauce.  Serve over hot cooked pasta. Garnish with basil & parmesan.

*I used marjoram because it grows year round with no help from me, in the side yard.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

 

Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

ROASTED EGGLANT PARMESAN
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Browned Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives & Feta

IMG_2050Hi there– I found this recipe in a magazine while I was sitting waiting at the ophthalmologist’s office for an eye exam.  (I guess a good recipe is some small compensation for a trip to the doctor!!)  Tempted as I was to tear out the page with the instructions, I took my waiting to time to commit it to memory (more of less) and here it is!

We’ve still got summer tomatoes at the market and who can resist a happy purple eggplant?  Made it up for dinner with some grilled talpia and a seedy chunk of bread.  Just about right for a warm end of the summer evening…

BROWNED EGGPLANT WITH TOMATOES, OLIVES & FETA
1 plump purple eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green heirloom tomato
1 red heirloom tomato
1/2 cup feta with herbs & garlic, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mixed olives
a splash more olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (cut if large)
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_2032Cut the eggplant into 1/4″ slices and set them on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.  Put it under the broiler on medium heat for 5 minutes and then flip the pieces of eggplant and broil for 5 minutes more.  (I had the rack about 10″ below the broiling unit– keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes into pretty thin slices.

When he eggplant is done, brush both sides with the 1/4 cup olive oil and arrange the slices on a plate with the tomatoes.  Scatter the olives, feta and basil over the top of it all and give it a good splash of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper.

Makes plenty for 4 people (maybe 6).

Roasted Tomato Soup

IMG_5892

Hey there– It’s true I have loved that tomato basil soup at the Corner Bakery ever since it popped up in our neighborhood years ago.  I tried in vain to locate the recipe and finally gave up.  But on a chilly Friday evening last week, Larry and I walked the mile for a soupy dinner there and it got me thinking about making that spicy soup again.  When I got home, I googled it up and there it was!!  Oh joy!  So this weekend, I made us a pot, hot and steamy.  If you love tomato soup, I think you’ll think this is the best!

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
3 pounds roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil (plus another splash)
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups chopped onion
a small pinch of red pepper*
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans of petit cut tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. thyme leaves

Slice the roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and set them out cut side up on a baking sheer.  Drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil over them and liberally salt them with salt and fresh pepper.  Pop them in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_5876

When the tomatoes come out of the oven, brown the onion in a pot with the splash of olive oil.  When they are almost done, add in the garlic and the pinch of red pepper (be careful to not over pepper it all!).  When the onions are caramelized, pour in the tomatoes, juice and all, and the chicken broth.  Toss in the roasted tomatoes, basil and thyme and simmer it all on low for about 45 minutes.

With a stick blender or food processor, blend it all to an even consistency and serve it up piping hot with croutons or a swirl of sour cream.

*I used the 1/8 teaspoon that the recipe recommended and it was too spicy for my taste– start small and you can always add more!