Tag Archives: tomatoes

Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)

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This Tuscan soup is more like a hearty stew than a soup, and it may not look great but it’s so incredibly flavorful and delicious. It only requires a few ingredients and can be made very quickly. In Italy, it’s made year-round with a few modifications; in the summer months when plum tomatoes are aplenty and ripe, they make it with fresh tomatoes. When the tomatoes are not in season, they make it with canned plum tomatoes. If you make it with the canned tomatoes, make sure to buy Italian-made because they will have nothing added (no salt, no preservatives—just tomatoes). And I have never tasted better tomatoes than fresh Italian tomatoes. They are exquisite. I watched about five Italian YouTube videos to see how differently each chef makes this dish, and I made mine based on theirs. There are a few ingredients that you don’t change: lots and lots of fresh basil, vegetable broth, stale crusty bread (I used a white Artisan-style bread), and of course the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

1 28-oz can Italian-made (I used Cento) crushed tomatoes (you could use whole)
1 beefsteak tomato (skinned), chopped (I added this because I wanted more chunky tomato)
1 32-oz carton organic vegetable broth (or, you could make your own)
About a half a loaf of stale Artisan-style hard bread, cut into ~2-inch chunks
About 2 cups of fresh basil — I used fresh from my garden
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (you could use leek bulb, instead)
3 carrots, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, whole but smashed (you’ll remove them once the soup is cooked)
EVOO (high quality)
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

Generously swirl olive oil into soup pot and heat on medium. Add the garlic and stir around for a few minutes in the olive oil. Next, add the carrot, celery, and onion. Stir to mix and let cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, but not brown. Add the canned (and/or fresh chopped) tomatoes, stir well to mix. Tear about a third of the basil into the mixture (never cut or use scissors—always tear it). Mix and let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. Add about half of the carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add the bread, mix well and simmer on low. Add some more torn basil leaves, and the rest of the vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Simmer and let the bread become really soft and mushy. Remove the garlic cloves. Serve in individual soup bowls, garnish with fresh basil, and (optional) drizzle a little olive oil over top.

Whole-wheat Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1 24-oz bottle of Rega Italian strained tomatoes (Passata Di Pomodoro)
1 26-oz carton of Pomi strained tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried sweet basil
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

Add about 2 tbsp olive oil to a heavy skillet and heat over medium. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Stir and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the fresh basil and parsley, reserving a few leaves of each for garnish. Continue to cook for a few minutes, then add the strained tomatoes (both the Rega and the Pomi). The Pomi strained tomatoes are thicker than the Rega, and no tomato paste needed to be added to this sauce. Simmer on low with the lid tilted on top, stirring frequently. Taste after about 25 or 30 minutes, then taste before adding salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti. When it is al dente, drain and return to pot. Add enough sauce to the pasta to coat all of it lightly. Serve each plate with additional sauce on the side, and garnish with fresh basil and parsley.

WholeWheatSpaghetti

Main-Dish Vegetable Soup

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This is a meal in itself. It’s more like a vegetable stew than a soup because it’s so thick. I added lots of vegetables to this vegetable broth- and V8 Original juice-based soup. I used mild chunky salsa and V8 juice in last week’s vegetable soup only because I didn’t have enough pureed tomatoes. I liked it so much, though, that I decided to use it again. It gives the soup a really pleasant tangy flavor. I didn’t measure anything; I’ll list the ingredients below, and approximate amounts.

INGREDIENTS:

Extra-virgin olive oil to coat the soup pot
4 zucchinis julienned (used mandolin wide-julienne setting)
4 carrots julienned (same as above)
2 medium onions julienned (same as above)
6 cloves minced garlic
4 cups V8 Original juice
4 cups (one carton) organic vegetable broth
1 26-oz carton of strained tomatoes (Pomi)
1 cup mild chunky salsa
Handful of a mix of fresh basil and Italian parsley
1 cup each frozen baby corn and peas
1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
3 big handfuls of roughly chopped fresh organic kale (washed, stems removed)
1 cup tiny alphabet pasta

METHOD:

Saute the zucchinis, carrots, and onions over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and herbs, lower the heat to medium. Stir and continue sautéing for another 10 minutes. Add the V8 juice, vegetable broth, strained tomatoes, salsa, corn and peas. Bring to a boil, and add the pasta. Stir and lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the black beans and the kale. Stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or so.

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

With lots of new organic produce for the week, and plenty of herbs in my garden, it was a good time to make a batch of tomato sauce. I only had 16 ounces of cherry tomatoes, though, and none of my garden tomatoes were ready to pick. So, I cheated a little on this one; I added a jar of organic marinara sauce to it. It would have been fine without the extra sauce—just double or triple the recipe and exclude the jar of marinara. That way, you’ll have enough sauce for more than one or two meals (which was all I would’ve had if I hadn’t added the extra sauce).

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 oz organic cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, sliced in half
1/2 c water
handful of fresh basil, finely chopped (and some extra whole basil leaves for garnish)
1/2 c fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Himalayan pink salt
Coarse-grind pepper
Flavor God Everything Seasoning
One jar organic marinara sauce (Optional)

METHOD:

Heat the olive oil over low-medium heat in a large heavy frying pan. Add the cherry tomatoes, stir and cook until they begin to break down and become soft. Add the garlic and stir. Add the water after the garlic becomes aromatic, and simmer partly covered on low for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped basil and parsley and continue simmering for another 15 minutes, or so. Add the (optional) jar of marinara sauce, and then season according to your taste with the salt and pepper and any other seasonings of your choice (dried basil, oregano, Mrs. Dash, Flavor God seasonings). Turn the heat down to allow the sauce to simmer, partially covered until all the flavors have blended. Serve over whole-grain pasta of your choice. Garnish with basil leaves.

Brown Basmati Rice with Vegetables and Mint Leaves

Brown Basmati Rice with Vegetables and Mint Leaves

The mint in my patio garden is growing like crazy! One of my favorite dishes is steamed peas with fresh mint, and I wanted to make something that would include brown basmati rice that I’d cooled in the fridge. Stocked up on organic tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, and avocado from my local roadside farmer’s stand, I chopped them all up to mix in this salad.

Just cook the brown basmati rice according to the package directions. Let cool, and then refrigerate overnight. Whatever vegetables you like and have on hand can be added to the rice, but the peas and mint are a must. I used about 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh mint, and about a cup of thawed frozen peas, 2 finely chopped pickling cucumbers, 1 finely chopped round zucchini, 2 finely chopped tomatoes, and 2 large chopped green onions. Mix all together and season with Flavor God Lemon & Garlic Seasoning, to taste. Add one sliced avocado on top.

Rotini pasta with frisée, grape tomatoes, garlic and onion

Rotini pasta with frisée, grape tomatoes, garlic and onion

Well, I received my biweekly delivery of CSA organic veggies and fruits yesterday, and one of this week’s vegetables was frisée lettuce. I’d never tried it before, so I did a little reading about it.

From http://kitchengardenfarm.com/vegetable-pages/frisee:

“Frisée is a member of the endive/chicory family with finely curled leaves and a slightly bitter flavor. It is extremely popular in France, and truly one of the most elegant of the salad vegetables. As the plant reaches full size, the outer leaves are gathered up and tightly bound with an elastic band, excluding sunlight to its newly forming inner leaves. This makes the frisée more tender and gives it its singular two-tone appearance. Frisée is best served raw with a sharply acid dressing to offset the bitterness.”

Since it has a bitterness to it, I decided to sauté it and use in a pasta dish. It was not at all bitter after sautéing, and in fact it turned out to be a great addition to the usual olive oil/garlic/onion/tomato sauce I might typically make for this type of pasta. Also, since I anticipated some bitterness, I added grated carrot to the sauté (which was also from my organic delivery yesterday, and was so fresh and sweet).

INGREDIENTS

1 box vegetable rotini pasta
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
3 carrots, grated
1 sweet Mayan onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
about two big handfuls of rinsed and spun-dry, coarsely chopped frisée
Himalayan pink salt
Galloway’s Foods coarse-grind fresh pepper

METHOD

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. While it is cooking, heat large non-stick frying pan to medium high, and add about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until it’s soft, then add the garlic, carrots, and tomatoes. Cook for about another 2 minutes, lowering the heat to medium. Add the frisée last, and toss it well within the other ingredients. Season with the pink salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta (timing should coincide with the pasta being ready at the same time the vegetable mixture is done). Pour the pasta into the frying pan with the veggies, and mix well. Serve immediately.