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Pasta, Polenta & Risotto Vegetarian

The Joys of Tomato Season

September 8, 2020
My parents’ basement table laden with tomatoes and fresh baked bread.

I was talking to a friend about the deliciousness of tomatoes this time of year. Our conversation reminded me of rainy days in late summer when my sister and I used to sit in the garage staring out at the rain. She’d eat a tomato sandwich and I’d eat a tomato with sprinkled with salt, loving that sweet, sun-ripened juice running down my chin.

Every August and September my mom was in the basement canning dozens of jars of tomatoes, which insured homemade pasta sauce through the winter, spring, and summer. All she added was a few sprigs of fresh basil and the sauce was delicious.

Uncle Richard’s tomato stash from two years ago..

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a great crop of summer tomatoes, and have room to store jars of canned tomatoes, I envy you. Since I don’t have that kind of space, I go for slow roasting some, which is delicious too. Below is a pasta recipe I created a few years ago that’s easy, healthy, scrumptious, and features slow roasted tomatoes. And here’s a link to a Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato and Herbed Goat Cheese Appetizers.

To roast tomatoes, all you need is 20 Roma tomatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and (optional) coriander. You cut the stem part off, slice the tomatoes in half, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil and salt, then lay them on a cookie sheet cut side up, and bake them, at 200 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. (I use these roasted tomatoes in appetizers or in pasta. Your house will smell delicious while they’re cooking.

Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Zucchini and Spinach

AuthorFran TunnoDifficultyBeginner

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time10 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time25 mins

 ½ lb pasta
 3 tbsp olive oil
 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning OR 1 1/2Tsp. of fresh Thyme
 3 small Italian zucchini or Magda squash sliced lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch slices
 3 cups fresh spinach
 6 slow roasted tomato halves -chopped into quarters with skin removed
 ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
 1 tbsp whipping cream
 grated Parmesan or Romano

1

Boil water in a large pot. Add salt and pasta. While the pasta is boiling, saute the garlic, zucchini, and herbs in a large skillet until the zucchini is a light golden brown. Then add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. 1 to 2 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the vegetables. (If you're waiting for the pasta to cook, turn off the heat under the veggies so they don't get too soft.

2

Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the vegetables, then add the broth, the whipping cream, and the chopped basil, and stir to combine over medium heat. (If too dry, add more broth.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Ingredients

 ½ lb pasta
 3 tbsp olive oil
 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning OR 1 1/2Tsp. of fresh Thyme
 3 small Italian zucchini or Magda squash sliced lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch slices
 3 cups fresh spinach
 6 slow roasted tomato halves -chopped into quarters with skin removed
 ¾ cup vegetable or chicken broth
 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
 1 tbsp whipping cream
 grated Parmesan or Romano

Directions

1

Boil water in a large pot. Add salt and pasta. While the pasta is boiling, saute the garlic, zucchini, and herbs in a large skillet until the zucchini is a light golden brown. Then add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. 1 to 2 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the vegetables. (If you're waiting for the pasta to cook, turn off the heat under the veggies so they don't get too soft.

2

Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the vegetables, then add the broth, the whipping cream, and the chopped basil, and stir to combine over medium heat. (If too dry, add more broth.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Spinach
  • Reply
    nycstylecannoli
    September 12, 2020 at 9:36 am

    My parents used to sprinkle the sliced tomatoes with Italian seasoning and olive oil and let it sit. Then dip with Italian bread. So simple but so yummy.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      September 13, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      Oh God Rosemary, Yes!!! It is so delicious. I may have to go out and get some Italian bread today. Now I have a craving!

  • Reply
    Bob Erbeck
    September 8, 2020 at 10:59 am

    If you want some delicious homegrown tomatoes that taste like the ones your folks raised, go to Jons grocery on Glenoaks. They have the best for 99ยข a pound. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ…

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      September 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm

      Sounds good Bob, thanks for the tip. I usually get mine at Golden Farms. I usually go for the Romas’s but should try some others. Thanks for taking the time to write!

  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    September 8, 2020 at 5:33 am

    This is something I definitely want to start doing. My grandparents never had the room to do it, but I had friends who did this every summer with their families. Iโ€™ll have to do the slow roast until I can find a place with room for a garden. Also, you are up early! Love you, Fran xo

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      September 8, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Wish we could can tomatoes together…or better yet with Uncle Richard. He still cans and he’s almost 91. Gotta love that. You’re going to love the slow roasted ones. Try them with herbed goat cheese on toast. It’s fantastic. Miss you like crazy! xoxo

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