Tag Archives: tomatoes

Recipe Bookmarks – Tomatoes done right

IMG_0708s

Ah, that’s more like it.

If cooked tomatoes are going to get all soft and squishy, then let’s put them in a pasta dish where that won’t matter! You expect tomatoes to be soft and warm and squishy in a pasta sauce.

Normally, when I have too many cherry or grape tomatoes and can’t get them all into salads before they go soft, I use them in my Fish & Tomatoes dinner. But it’s nice to have other options, and this Spaghetti with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes seemed like an easy place to start.

It’s incredibly simple: just tomatoes, oil, and garlic to make the “sauce”, then some fresh mozzarella and basil added after the pasta’s tossed in. Because the sauce is so basic, the quality of the ingredients makes a difference. I used fresh basil leaves from my garden and found some of the good squishy fresh mozzarella at the cheese counter at Wegmans. I didn’t use “heirloom” tomatoes, as the goal was to use up my grape tomatoes that had already started to go soft, but I don’t think that took away from the flavor. Where I compromised was to use a store brand box of fettuccine. Oh, it was still a tasty dinner. But I think if I’d splurged on some fancier pasta, or gone all-out and made my own fresh pasta, it would have taken it to a whole other delicious level.

Yay, an excuse to try making fresh pasta again! I’ll just need a free weekend, because that’s a big project!

Recipe Bookmarks – Tomatoes done wrong

When it’s summer and tomato season, I always feel like buying up all the big (or little!) red tomatoes I see at the farmers markets. I can only use up so many in salads, though, so I’m always looking for other tomato recipes I can try.

Look at these baked parmesan tomatoes, from Eating Well. Don’t they look pretty? All cheesy and tomatoey and delicious? One of the reviews said the baked tomatoes tasted like pizza, and who doesn’t love pizza?

Official Eating Well photo for this recipe

The only detour I made from the recipe was to slice my big tomatoes into four thick slices, so they’d look more like that photo. The recipe says to halve them, but my tomatoes were pretty big, so I felt safe making the change.

The results made me sad. They were bland, and the flavors all stayed independent instead of working together to contribute to a yummy whole. Normally, I would be willing to try the recipe again with a few tweaks to the spices, but this dish didn’t have any other redeeming qualities. The tomato part was delicious, because I started with delicious tomatoes, but it was incredibly soggy. The slices were falling apart as I moved them to our dinner plates.

IMG_0624s

My sad, soggy slices.

The other thing is, Parmesan isn’t a good melting cheese. The grated cheese I put on the tomato slices stayed in clumps, barely melted, and didn’t brown at all. Why am I putting this cheese in the oven if it’s not going to get melty and brown? That’s the entire point of oven cheese! Looking back at the official Eating Well photo for this recipe, I suspect they cheated and threw on some mozzarella or a shredded “Italian cheese” blend. No way is that straight Parmesan.

Maybe this recipe would work with less-juicy tomatoes. Or with different cheeses. Or with more oregano, or maybe some basil. But there are so many other things to make, and so little time.

Moving on. Pin deleted.