7.26.2006

When you get too greedy with farmer's market tomatoes


Like many bloggers, I use SiteMeter to track the keywords that drive visitors to my site.

Yesterday, I upgraded my SiteMeter account and started paying for their service. Now I can see more in depth analysis of the keywords people use to find my blog.

As you can see from the screen shot, while a few people are holding out for tuna surprise (I wonder who bakes a tuna casserole in July?) or dishwasher fish (this makes more sense, right? You've already got the dishwasher on. Rather than turning on the oven and creating more heat, do the fish in the dishwasher) most visitors are Googling summer sauce words including: tomato, basil, pasta, and fresh sauce.

These hungry searchers are finding there way to the post I wrote about my farmer's market fresh tomato sauce. So here's another post for those searchers. Give the people what they want, right?

Today, the new farmer's market column in the New York Time's Dining section shares a recipe for a unique kid-friendly pasta salad that uses tomatoes, both fresh and oven roasted.

Best of all, the article claims that this pasta salad isn't bland. I hope not. I've abandoned pasta salad because so far, all of it is either bland or tastes overwhelming of balsamic vinegar or some other Wishbone concoction.

This recipe seems like a savvy opportunity to use up all the tomatoes that I buy with the best of intentions, each time I go to a farmer's market. Then I ignore them as they sit on my counter (never in the fridge, don't put your tomatoes in the fridge -- that makes them turn mealy) for a week or more. By the time I get back to them, the poor fresh tomatoes are too ugly and shrunken to eat raw . . . but they are expensive and I feel bad about throwing them away. Bonus points to this recipe for also calling for corn on the cob, the item I'm second-most-likely to buy too much of at the farmer's market, after tomatoes.

Well, I be lucky enough to have life align where (a) i have extra tomatoes (b) i have 4 to 6 hours to roast them and I'm willing to turn on the oven (c) i'm up for serving that summer old-stand-by pasta salad, this is just the recipe for me.

((There used to be a 'back-door' that would allow bloggers to link to Times content. Does anyone know if this is still available? If it is, please let me know. In the mean time, I'm posting the recipe here directly, since links to the Times go dead in a week. I wish the New York Times could be more Epicurious-like and allow us free access to all their recipe content.))

Enjoy this recipe . . . and if you make it before I do, let me know how it turns out!

Recipe: Summer Pasta
Time: 4 to 6 hours (mostly for roasting tomatoes)

FOR THE ROASTED TOMATOES:
2½ pounds tomatoes (may be imperfect or overripe)
2 tablespoons olive oil1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar

FOR THE ASSEMBLY:
Salt 1 pound pasta like farfalle, penne or fusilli
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely minced and mashed
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ears corn, raw if very fresh, or lightly steamed
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (preferably low-acid orange or yellow), halved or quartered
12 ounces fresh mozzarella or Valley Shepherd Jersey Fresh Mixte, diced (see note)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano1 cup mixed herbs, torn into small pieces (mostly basil, with a little purple basil, orange mint, summer savory and parsley).

1. For the roasted tomatoes: Heat oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes into slices about ¾ inch thick, reserving ends for another use. Lay slices on baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Bake 15 minutes, and reduce heat to 200 degrees. Continue baking, turning halfway through, until tomatoes are shrunken and chewy but not crisp, 4 to 6 hours. (They may be started in the evening and finished the next morning. After partial baking, turn off oven, leaving door closed. In the morning, if tomatoes are not done, reheat oven and continue roasting.)

2. For assembly: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, chop roasted tomatoes very finely until they are almost a paste. Place in a large serving bowl, and add garlic, butter and olive oil. When pasta is cooked drain well, and add to the bowl while still hot. Toss well.

3. Stand ears of corn on end, and slice kernels from cobs. Add corn, cherry or grape tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano to pasta-tomato mixture. Toss well. Add herbs, and toss again. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Note: Valley Shepherd Jersey Fresh Mixte cheese is sometimes available at the Union Square Greenmarket.

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