Pasta with Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce & Fresh Mozzarella
Yield: 6 servings
2 lb. heirlooms tomatoes (mixed varieties, colors, shapes)
½ c. + 2 Tbl. good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
½ c. lightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. cracked black pepper
1 lb. cavatappi pasta
½ lb. (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella, at room temperature (can also use burratta cheese)
Core and cut the tomatoes into wedges or large chunks depending on the size of the tomatoes. Grape and cherry tomatoes can be halved. Place the tomatoes into a large shallow bowl and add the olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Toss gently, wrap with plastic, and allow this mixture to sit at room temperature for at least one hour but preferably 2-3 hours.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions…..8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and add the hot pasta to the tomato mixture, tossing well to incorporate everything. Cut or tear the burrata into large pieces and gently toss with the pasta before serving. Garnish with more fresh basil if desired.
Variations:Other cheeses work well with this including ricotta, fontina, goat cheese, brie, and parmesan. The amounts may need to be adjusted depending on the strength and style of cheese used.
Blue Cheese & Black Pepper Plum Tomatoes
Ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
Fresh thyme leaves (or any fresh herb of choice)
Blue cheese, crumbled
Cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange tomato halves on a baking sheet, cut side up, and lightly sprinkle with a few thyme leaves. Top each tomato with a small amount of blue cheese followed by cracked black pepper. Bake for approx. 12-15 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender but still hold their shape and the cheese is bubbly. Great as a side dish with grilled steak or alongside greens as a salad.
Provencal-Stuffed Field Tomatoes
Yield: 4-5 servings
2 c. fresh bread crumbs (great way to use up leftover bread in the freezer….simply blend in a food processor until coarse crumbs are created)
1 c. fine parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. packed chopped fresh basil leaves
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the baking tray
4-5 medium ripe tomatoes (1 ½-2 lb.)*, halved horizontally and seeds removed
Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, and basil in a medium bowl and blend. Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly until everything is moist and incorporated.
Season each tomato half well with salt & pepper and fill the cavities with the stuffing, mounding slightly over the top. Place the tomatoes on an oiled baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes or until tomatoes are tender but hold their shape and the parmesan topping is golden brown.
*Note: Any variety of tomatoes can be used. Large regular or heirloom tomatoes can be cut into ½” thick slabs (seeds left in), sprinkled with topping and cooked on a baking sheet as above. Plum tomatoes can be halved lengthwise, and even grape or cherry tomatoes can be halved and placed in a shallow skillet with topping to cover. Experiment with all colors, shapes, and sizes of tomatoes from the farms!!