Although Ted has been busy tending to his tomatoes, it's still a little early in the summer tomato season. But that doesn't mean that I'm not ready to rock some tomato dishes. The tomatoes are just going to need a little, shall we say, assistance.
This recipe for roasted tomatoes with pesto is delicious even with the somewhat bland early summer tomatoes we are currently finding in the grocery store. Roasting the tomatoes brings out the tomato flavor and the pesto offers a garlicy counterpart that kicks the whole thing up a notch.
So, while the tomatoes in my garden may not yet be ready for their close up, this recipe is a really nice stand in.
Recipe: Tomatoes Roasted with Pesto
(Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?, 2010)
* Note: You can be really lazy and buy pesto at the supermarket instead of making it yourself. Just saying...
2 to 2 1/2 pounds large red tomatoes
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pesto, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Core the tomatoes and then slice them across (not through the stem) in 1/2 inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper.
Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, spread each slice with pesto, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return the tomatoes to the oven and continue baking for 7 to 10 minutes, until the Parmesan is melted and begins to brown. Using a flat metal spatula, put the tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with extra salt, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
For the Pesto:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons diced garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use immediately or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. Makes 4 cups.