August 17, 2008

You say Tomato- I say Pomodoro

olive oil with tomato bits, sea salt with bread for dipping

Reading Deb's Tomato Fest on Martha Stewart's Blog, Dinner Tonight, how could I not gather my Italian tomato recipes together in one place now that we are having a gut of tomatoes!
So stopping by Margaret's Way to the Garden Blog, I got the info on the Food Fest Party they are having weekly.

It sort of feels like a Woodstock for foodies and this being the anniversary of the festival
it seems appropriate to go all out!

So let your hair down and take off your shoes and join me in my Tuscan Kitchen. Playing Arlo Guthries "Alice's Restaurant" would be appropriate!

Cuore di bue- "beef-heart" tomato

As you have seen, I have been buying some Killer Tomatoes lately, weighing in at over 2 pounds and lasting a week in our house, which inspired several dishes using them raw.

Their meaty flavor needed nothing but extra virgin olive oil and salt.

When was the last time you had a tomato right from the farm, never having been in the fridge?
The intensity of flavor is incredible.

We have gotten so used to supermarket vegetables, often real flavor memories have been replaced by chilled down, non seasonal replacements. Refrigerating food dulls the flavor in raw and cooked foods,
then it requires over seasoning to replace the missing flavor.

Called Fiorentini, Florentine's, these tomatoes are also grow in Sicily where
the volcanic soil and sun create a fabulous growing season and flavor.
When I can get them, these are my favorite pomorola sauce tomatoes.

Keep it fresh and keep it simple, probably one of the hardest things to do in our hectic lives is to keep the food simple.

Caprese, the Italian summer flag on a plate. buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomatoes , basil, 
sea salt and oil.

In my Signs of Summer post you will find the recipe for my favorite summer salad


When I came back from Sicily I was totally inspired by the

Every Italian man will fall in love with you if you can make
Stuffed Tomatoes like his mamma did.
(maybe he has to be a Tuscan, like mine is?)

or make the perfect snack for anytime of the day

Got some fabulous heirloom tomatoes?

But there is no better way to celebrate summer
than saving some summer in a jar!
Pure Passion.

Staying simple, but adding some typical ingredients from the mediterranean panty
and you have a couple of great salads featuring ugly but good heirloom tomatoes.

I have never made my pappa al pomodoro from fresh tomatoes as it is a soup which I tend to have in the winter, but it is also great served room temp so will try that too later this week.

When green beans are in season and the cherry tomatoes come out too
I make Germana's green bean recipe all the time, over-cooking is the secret here
it carmelizes the sugars in the tomatoes and really takes the flavor notes up a notch.

Another recipe where the cherry tomatoes shine is
Donatella's Chicchi, a Spelt and chickpea salad from Umbria.
When Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl was with me in Florence
I made this with black rice and it was a hit!

For instant satisfaction try pan frying cherry tomatoes in
the "Trinity"

Garlic,olive oil and chili flakes.

Aglio,olio e peperoncino

I call these my panfried, sun-dried tomatoes.

After I give them a quick panfrying with the trinity and a sprinkle of salt
I splash them with some Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
Talk about BAM and taking it up a notch!

These are great on their own or as a pasta sauce,
spooned on grilled salmon, a steak or spread on bread!

When you can buy your tomatoes direct, like I do from Benedetto and his daughter Francesca
Anything you make will be incredible if you keep it simple.

who needs to plant when you can be adopted by a farm, sort of my CSA at the weekly market.

But if you are having a late harvest and your tomatoes are still green,
in Italy that is a good thing!

Italians prefer green tomatoes for salads as they have a nice tartness to them -of course fried green tomatoes are also Italian, dusted in a little polenta meal before frying.

My favorite is to make a lovely "green" pasta sauce.

Green Tomato Pasta Sauce

Something I have been making in class with green, turning red, San Marzano tomatoes.
They are picked green to be eaten in salads because they have a cripsy sort of acidic flavor.
They are not meant to be used for pomorola sauce until they are vine ripened in August! 

Green tomatoes
Olive oil
Fresh basil
Parmesan cheese

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and then into thin slices.
Slice the garlic and heat in olive oil over high heat; when garlic is golden add tomatoes.
Stir fry to get the tomatoes covered in oil and to really start to let them carmelize!
Add torn basil and salt.
Turn down heat to medium and let cook until the tomatoes fall apart.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water and save some of the water to thin the sauce
before you drain the pasta.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, heat together and add Parmesan cheese.
Add the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.
Serve hot.

The green tomato sauce is like a savory confit of tomatoes. It is also great with chucks of Parmesan cheese as an appetizer or served with roasted meats.

Later this week, I will be making Cibreo's owner-Chef Fabio Picchi's recipe
Tomato "Panna Cotta"

Ok, it is NOT dessert, but gives you a better idea than saying
Tomato aspic!

Buon Appetito and Buon Pomodori!


  1. Yes...yes...yes!!!! So many wonderful ways to enjoy tomatoes! Thanks for rounding up all these recipes in one place!

  2. Judy
    You have just brightened my day with all of these recipes. I came home from a walk this morning, loaded down with even more tomatoes from our neighbor who coaxed me into his garden to pick them from his numerous plants.
    I am dying to try some new things with them and all of these look amazing.
    Grazie mille!

  3. janie6:36 PM

    Thank you for all the wonderful ideas-can't wait to try all of them!

  4. Today trying another version of harissa, softened up with tomatoes as my chili's are too hot!
    tastes like BBQ sauce.. or spicey ketchup!

  5. delicious!! :)
    I wanna try harissa too dear "diva"!!

  6. Those are some wonderful tomatoes! Found you via Twitter and have enjoyed your blog. I wish I had known about your tours and classes when I visited Florence in 1996 (much too long ago). My husband and I have plans to return, and we'll definitely look you up when we do!