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Two ways to use that bounty of tomatoes and basil

ImageWith even more rain this week, my tomatoes and basil are out producing everything else in the garden. And I hope I remember next year when planting cherry tomatoes that 1 plant is plenty. Hard lesson learned: 4 are way too many!

I’ve been using tomatoes and basil just about every day in some form and have been looking for new recipes. I did find a couple that were really good. If you have a recipe or tips using basil or tomatoes, send to me for sharing in this column. We can never have enough…

Chunky cooked tomato basil sauce

I wonder what Rita Maceachen, Madeira resident, mentor and matriarch of the Maceachen/Antenucci cooking empire in Cincinnati, thinks of my not putting canned tomatoes through a sieve to remove seeds. “Seeds make sauce bitter”, Rita told me. Hopefully I solved that by adding a carrot to offset the tomatoes’ acidity. This sauce can be the base for meatballs or whatever.

Rita shared her formerly secret meatball recipe a few years ago so if you’d like that, let me know.

This makes good use of those frozen leftover Parmesan rinds.

1/3 cup olive oil

5 medium to large cloves peeled garlic

1 carrot, cut into large chunks

3 nice sprigs basil, about 4-5” each

3 cans whole tomatoes, 14.5 oz. each, mashed

About 8 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds, cut up into 3” pieces **

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1 pound pasta, cooked

Heat a pot on medium high. Add 1/3 cup oil, garlic and carrots, and reduce to medium. Cook until garlic is just golden and starting to soften, then add basil, tomatoes and rinds. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes or so, covered,  stirring occasionally so rinds don’t stick. Remove rinds, carrots and basil. Mash down a bit and season to taste. Serve over pasta and sprinkle generously with Parmesan. Serves 4

Adapted from a Giada recipe.

** No Parmesan rinds?

After sauce is cooked, remove from heat and stir in an extra half-cup of Parmesan or more to taste.

Real deal:
Parmigiano-Reggiano costs more but doesn’t string out like lesser quality cheese.

See a step-by-step tutorial of this recipe:

On my website abouteating.com.

Roasted seasonal tomatoes

Roasting tomatoes always had one drawback: skins that were hard to chew. Not this time! Here’s my slightly adapted version from America’s Test Kitchen.

3 pounds medium to large tomatoes, cored, bottom trimmed off, sliced 3/4” thick

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Fresh minced basil (optional)

3/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 and adjust rack to middle. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray. Lay tomatoes in single layer, with larger slices around edge and smaller in center. Place garlic on tomatoes, sprinkle with oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle with oil. Roast 30 minutes. Remove, flip tomatoes over and reduce temperature to 300. Roast until spotty brown and skins look blistered, 1-2 hours. Tomatoes will have collapsed a good bit. Sprinkle with basil, as much as you like. Let cool. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 months.






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