This simple sauce is perfect for end-of-summer cherry tomatoes - perhaps when the vines are ready to come out to make way for winter crops. A quick glance at the ingredients list may make the reader think of ‘pesto alla trapanese’ - Sicily’s version of pesto frequently served with busiate, and well it should! But while ‘pesto alla trapanese’ is made with raw ingredients (and similarly its well-known cousin ‘pesto genovese’), for this sauce, tomatoes, garlic and basil sit in a low oven until they almost melt into a pool of extra virgin olive oil. We had this with potato gnocchi at a pasta workshop I taught recently, but it is also wonderful with orecchiette, and of course, busiate!Read More
I have never felt comfortable calling myself a proper gardener. Not really. Though I have always loved growing things (particularly things to eat): I've rarely been able to bring myself to thin carrots; I have felt bad about pulling out weeds; and though I know I should be pruning my tomatoes of side shoots (to increase yield and help prevent disease), year after year, I have let them go. Until now.
If homegrown food tastes better (it does), homegrown tomatoes eaten still-warm straight from the vine are nothing short of addictive. The fruit from your own vines tastes as a tomato should taste - and there is no better reminder of the importance of eating locally, in season. But it isn't just the fruit that has seen me dedicate at least half my growing space to tomatoes each year - I do so also for the leaves. If colours could smell, surely green would be the scent of tomato leaves on a gardener's fingers. Heady and warm, I have always found their fragrance delicious - making it a joy to spend an hour or so in the vegetable patch tying the vines as they reach toward the sun.
I have flavoured pasta with everything from nettles and squid ink to saffron, beetroot and red wine. And each year when our neighbour prunes her enormous fig tree, I hang some of the leaves to dry and use them to make fig leaf fettuccine, but it never occurred to me that I could use tomato leaves to flavour my dough. Indeed, I had always assumed that the leaves were inedible as with other members of the nightshade family.Read More
The air was cool this morning when we made our weekly visit the local farmers' market and my mind wandered to soup. This soup. It seemed a good way to use the brown bag of Heirloom tomatoes that I can never resist, and the lovely little fennel bulbs which were everywhere today.Read More