Tomato and Tomatillo Recipes

Easy Summer Pasta

1 ¾ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium zucchinis
1 eggplant, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (such as Herbes de Provence)
1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
2 ¾ ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into medium strips
1 ½ cups penne pasta (or 3 cups cooked penne)
3 tablespoons crème fraiche or ricotta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Reserve about ½ cup of the tomatoes for garnishing.
On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the remaining tomatoes.
Cut the zucchinis in half lengthwise, then cut into half-moons about ¾-inch thick.
Add to the baking sheet with the tomatoes, along with the eggplant, oil, herbs, and a big pinch of salt.
Toss to combine and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 1 hour, until the vegetables are nicely caramelized.
After 45 minutes, scatter the mozzarella over the top of the vegetables and return to the oven for the final 15 minutes so the cheese melts.
Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente (this will generally be the shorter cooking time on the package directions).
Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the saucepan.
To the saucepan with the pasta, add the vegetables and cheese along with the crème fraiche and a splash of reserved pasta water.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
Scatter the reserved tomatoes over the pasta.

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)  

10 Tomatillos
Hot peppers to taste
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 bunch of cilantro
2 teaspoon salt
2 pinches of cumin

Remove husk from tomatillos. 
Boil tomatillos and hot peppers until they are dull green and soft (15 to 20 min.) — or you can roast the tomatillos and peppers in the oven until tender. 
Put all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until blended. 
If too thick, add water.
Makes roughly one pint. 
Freezes great — put it in a bag and break off chunks as needed.

Tomato Basil Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Balsamic Reduction

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon minced shallot
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
4 medium tomatoes, cored, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
8 large fresh basil leaves, sliced very finely
Freshly ground black pepper
Red onion, to taste, sliced as thinly as possible
1-2 ounces Parmesan cheese, very thinly sliced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or more to taste

Put the balsamic vinegar in a stainless steel or ceramic-coated pot over medium-high heat. Add the honey, garlic, shallot, and rosemary sprig.
Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, until it has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is the consistency of syrup, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the stove and set it aside to cool. Strain if desired.
Arrange the tomato slices on individual plates. Scatter the basil evenly over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with onion to taste.
Drizzle 1½ teaspoon of the balsamic reduction over each serving. (Don’t drench the plates; the reduction is concentrated and very flavorful—a little goes a long way.)
Top each serving with Parmesan slices and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil, or more if you desire.
Serve immediately.

Marvelous Minestrone

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 6 garlic, minced or pressed
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 to 5 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 to 6 tablespoons fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
5 to 7 cups water or stock (up to 1 cup red wine may be used as part of the liquid)
4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, diced
1½ cups green beans, cut or snapped into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cooked kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces broken spaghetti, cooked

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. 
Add garlic, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, basil, and oregano and sauté several minutes, until fragrant. 
Add pepper, salt, vinegar, sweetener, water or stock, tomatoes, and green beans. 
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender but not falling apart. 
Add the kidney beans and cooked pasta and heat through. 
If the soup is too thick at this point, add more water, stock, or red wine to thin it. 
Serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, crusty French bread, and a crisp green salad.
Serves 8.

Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
1 plump garlic clove, minced or put through a press (more to taste)
Salt to taste (I like to use a very good coarse sea salt or fleur de sel for this)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 cup arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon slivered or chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound fusille, farfalle, or orecchiette pasta
¼ cup freshly grated ricotta salata or Parmesan (more to taste)

Mango-Tomatillo Salsa

1½ cups fresh tomatillos, shelled & boiled until dull green or 1-12oz can tomatillos, drained
½ cup pineapple juice 
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced red or green chili pepper of your choice
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
6 tablespoons lime juice (about 3 limes)
3 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled, pitted, and diced small
1 red onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 green bell pepper, diced small

Mix all together.  Will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto

2 pre-roasted tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato
2–3 cloves garlic, peeled, halved
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh whole basil leaves
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, and oil in a blender and process until just combined.
Add a handful of basil and process again briefly; continue adding the basil in small amounts until all is combined.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 2.
Note:  Don’t limit this pesto to just pasta; try it on pizzas and roasted potatoes, in an omelet, or over grilled vegetables. You can make an equally delicious variation by using cilantro instead of basil.

Fresh Tomato Soup

8 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded if desired, chopped
4 or more cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water or vegetable juice
2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs of fresh basil

Combine tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft.
Add water or vegetable juice, bouillon cubes, sugar, and basil.
Bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.
Goes great with grilled cheese and fresh basil sandwiches!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Crispy Cornmeal Crust

½ cup milk, or 1 egg beaten with 1/4 cup water
½ cup cornmeal or flour, or a combination
1¼ teaspoons salt plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
Mild-flavored vegetable oil
4 large firm green tomatoes, cored, cut into ¼-inch slices

Line a plate with paper towels.
Put the milk or the egg-water mixture in a shallow bowl; set aside.
Put the cornmeal or flour in another small, shallow bowl and stir in the salt and pepper.
Fill a large skillet ¼-inch deep with oil.
Heat over high heat until the oil just begins to smoke, about 3 minutes.
Dip each tomato slice into the liquid, then into the cornmeal or flour.
Carefully place the tomato slices in the oil and cook until golden and soft but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side (working in batches as necessary).
Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Transfer the fried tomatoes to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.  
Season with more salt to taste.  Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
Note:  Bacon drippings were traditionally used to fry green tomatoes, but now only the most diehard Southerners—and a few inspired cooks—do it that way.

Marinara Sauce for Freezing

24 pounds of tomatoes (about 5 gallons) 
1 can of tomato paste
12 onions
48 cloves garlic
1 2/3 cups olive oil
6 bell peppers
24 or so bay leaves
Lots of parsley, oregano, basil, thyme
Salt to taste
Lots of pepper
3 or 4 cups red wine

Cut tomatoes in half, put juicy side down and roast for about one hour at 400 degrees. 
Check and drain out liquid every fifteen minutes or so.
Sauté onion, garlic, and peppers.
Add tomato paste.
Put roasted tomatoes in a pot and add all other ingredients.
Cook for a couple of hours, until desired consistency. 
Put in bags in freezer.
Makes 14 quarts.