This is another scheduled post, as Eric and I are at the beach with his parents until tonight.  But I’ve been so excited to share these with you that I’m writing the post a week in advance.  We’ve been getting so many tomatoes with our CSA lately.  Some big red ones, and tons of little cherry tomatoes, especially yellow ones.  Eric and I really love sun dried tomatoes, but they can be SO expensive.  I decided that I would try slow roasting some tomatoes to make our own.  It was one of my greatest cooking successes ever!!!!!!

I have always liked tomatoes, but I don’t know if I’d ever tried fresh, local tomatoes until our CSA.  They’re incredibly sweet and juicy!  Now I understand why the tomato has been called nature’s jewel, and natural candy.  How can I ever enjoy a store bought tomato again?  But as amazing as these tomatoes are fresh, they’re flavor is so intensified by slow roasting that it practically brings tears of taste bud joy to your eyes.

I’ve seen a lot of different recipes for roasting tomatoes.  Some put it on broil and do a quick charring of the tomatoes.  Some put the temperature as low as possible and roast them for 12 hours or more.  We don’t want to overheat our apartment during the summer, even at night, or use 12 hours of oven electricity.  So I was somewhere in the middle.  Using the cherry tomatoes meant only having to roast them for about 4 hours.  If you use Roma or larger tomatoes, you’ll need to lengthen the roasting time.  Following my recipe, you’ll have to refrigerate the tomatoes because I use herbs and garlic.  If you want to can some, omit the thyme and garlic and process for 20 minutes in a water bath.  Another option if you’re not canning them is that I packed mine in with fresh basil leaves, YUM!

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

makes 1/2 pint

Ingredients

40-50 cherry tomatoes
about 1/4 cup olive oil
4 sprigs of thyme
2 TBS chopped garlic
1 TBS kosher or sea salt
pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Use a little olive oil to coat a rimmed cookie sheet.  Slice tomatoes in half and place cut side up on cookie sheet.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Remove leaves from thyme and sprinkle over tomatoes, then sprinkle garlic over tomatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and a dash of pepper.

Place cookie sheet in the oven for 3-4 hours or until tomatoes are reduced in size and slightly charred.  Use a spoon to scoop into a glass jar and refrigerate up to 6 months.

Roast Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta

serves 4

Ingredients

4 servings of spaghetti noodles
pinch of sea salt
1 TBS olive oil
1 red pepper
2 TBS chopped red onion
around 20 roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup grated parmesan
8 leaves fresh basil

Instructions

Cook spaghetti according to package directions with sea salt in the water.  In a frying pan, add olive oil and heat on high.  Put in red pepper and onion, saute for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and stir well so oil from the tomatoes coats the peppers and onions.  Once peppers have softened, mix everything into the drained spaghetti.  Stir in parmesan.

Serve into bowls and top with sliced fresh basil.


Approximate cost/serving: If you get fresh, local tomatoes in season they can be very affordable.  I’ve seen them for less than $1 a pound at the farmers market, so it will cost about $1.50 for the roasted tomatoes.  The pasta only needs 4-5 tomatoes per person because they have such strong flavor.  It costs around $3 to make 4 servings of pasta, so 75 cents a serving!  It would cost about $1.30 a serving using sun dried tomatoes.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free: This is totally vegetarian and you can make the pasta vegan by omitting the parmesan, the tomato oil has enough flavor w/out it.  For gluten free, make sure to use gluten free noodles and read your parmesan label, sometimes pre-grated cheese can be coated in flour.


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