It’s a bit cooler here in Nashville, but while it was so bloody hot I managed to get lots of indoor stuff done..homey chores…office work. I cleaned up my desk….I found this little tag I had attached to a pitcher of “Basil-Limeade Wine Spritzer” that I had taken to a potluck gathering last summer and remembered how refreshing it was…maybe it’s time to make another batch.
There are no real measurements, just gather the ingredients in the tag and mix and taste until you like it. Serve over an ice packed glass. Sip and cool down.
I also finally got to finish up my new website design and get it live…see images below and hop over for a visit when you have a second…www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com. I really love working on things like this…noodling…especially on a hot days.
August is now a lot of memories and September is before us. There is lots of turmoil as well as goodness in the world. We are soon having an election for a new President here in the United States. I support Hillary Clinton for President and I hope you will ponder this and vote for her as well. Do the most good for the most people as often as you can. Read between the lines…ask questions…think peace. Do right.
The days are longer and hotter. Dusk holds on to the last warm rays, squeezing out every drop of light until there is none left. These times are for simple suppers that are a pleasure to prepare with no oven involved. Just a few fresh ingredients and a chilled bottle of wine for a June Saturday evening.
A couple of pints of cherry tomatoes, freshly cut basil and shallots are the basics of this recipe for “Stove-Top Slow-Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce with Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli”.
I wandered into Lazzaroli’s Pasta & Italian Market last week seeking an idea for supper. I bought three types of pasta including this freshly made Ricotta Cavatelli. This little rolled pasta, which is like a dumpling, has just the right shape to hold the sauce while on its way to your mouth.
The two pints of cherry tomatoes were left over from a photo shoot the week before…various kinds all mixed together which I cut in half.
Diced shallots slow-roasted over low heat in a splash of good olive oil until almost caramelized to which I added the tomatoes.
After a half hour of pan roasting I added the fresh basil leaves, a pinch of salt & black pepper.
Tossed with the fresh Ricotta Cavatelli and Parmigiano Reggiano, a crusty loaf for sopping and a chilled Italian white made an ideal warm weather supper.
“Buon Appetito Y’all”
Stove-Top Slow-Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce with Ricotta Cavatelli
2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half saving the juices
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water or broth
8 ounces Cavatelli (or similar pasta)
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy pan. Add shallots & garlic. Leave on heat, stirring every now and then until shallots are almost softened.
Add cherry tomato halves to pan and stir to coat with oil. Turn heat to low. Leave on heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often. The tomatoes will begin to “melt” creating a sauce. Add 1/4 cup water or broth and continue cooking stirring often while you cook the pasta.
Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add Cavatelli and stir. Cook for about 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta in a colander.
To the sauce add a handful of roughly chopped fresh basil leaves stirring to blend.Remove pan from heat.
Add drained pasta to the pan of sauce. Stir gently to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding some of the pasta water if need be to thin it out.
Serve with a generous dusting of fresh Parmigiano.
Note: This was just one of the best and easy sauces I have ever made. The perfect pasta storm.
These three summer-fresh vegetables have been part of my own food-lore for as long as I can remember. So many summer meals in my life have been made up of this “trinity” that grows so abundantly here in Tennessee.
As a child in West Tennessee, I and my playmates would pick ripe tomatoes fresh from the vine in the mid-day sun and bite into them, the warm juice running down our chins, dripping onto our clothes. It was a bit naughty and messy which we loved and as an adult I still love slices of warm, unrefrigerated tomatoes. The juice warm and sweet with a bit of salt is the most simple edible ode to the tomato I can think of.
I recall picking peas with my Grandmother on hot summer mornings…the sun not yet up, dew on the lawn as we went to the backyard garden, trying to get our picking done early. Sitting later in the day on the back porch with a bowl to catch the peas and a paper sack to toss the shells into beside me on the swing. I loved shelling peas then and I still do…this simple task that yields so much pleasure.
One of my favorite times of the summer was when the “corn came in” and all the women in our rural neighborhood would gather together at one person’s house to “put up” corn. Eunice & Dave, our next door neighbors, would pull a large flat wagon bed up under large oak trees in their back yard. The trees so big and old no hot sun could penetrate the foliage. The neighbor women would gather under these trees, around this wagon bed used as a canning work table before sunrise one day each summer and spend most of the day shucking and cutting corn, taking it inside the house to can …I do not think I was much help but I loved being there with the adults, listening as they talked and gossiped about everything under the sun while saving one of the best parts of the summer in glass jars. In my mind I still hear the all-day, softly constant sound of Shuck, Cut, Scrape, Shuck, Cut, Scrape…..
These days I do grow my own tomatoes, but my peas and corn come from local farmer’s markets. Here are two very easy recipes I made up last week using my “Tennessee Trinity”.
Recipe #1 – A Very Simple Bread, Tomato & Lady Pea Dinner”
Ingredients: A generous handful of homegrown cherry tomatoes; 2 cups fresh Lady Peas (black-eyed Peas, Crowder Peas, etc); Butter, Salt & Black Pepper; thick crusty bread slices cut into large croutons; olive oil; 1 cucumber & fresh Basil leaves
1. Wash, drain & cut tomatoes in half. place in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Cook Lady Peas in water just to cover, add a small chunk of butter, salt & pepper. Cook on med-lo heat for about 15 minutes, or until most of water is absorbed &peas are a bit soft but not mushy.
3. In a skillet over medium-hi heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add pieces of bread to skillet, toss well. Cook until browned & crispy. Remove from skillet. Set aside.
4. Peel & chop cucumber.Tear Basil leaves into pieces.
1. On each plate scatter a some of the tomato halves, cucumbers & basil pieces.
2. Place a spoonful of the cooked Lady Peas in the center of each plate. Scatter some of the crusty bread croutons over all. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, some sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Beautifully fresh complete dinner on a plate for a hot summer evening. Serve with a crisp, cold white wine.
Ingredients: Sweet Corn cut from the cob; a few fresh from the garden baby tomatoes still on the vine; olive oil, sea salt & pepper; coarse ground yellow cornmeal; water; fresh basil leaves & Parmesan cheese
1. Wash & drain tomatoes. Pre-heat oven broiler. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Place tomatoes on baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil & sea salt.
3. Place tomatoes under broiler and broil until skin is browned & tomatoes are slightly cooked. Remove from oven. Set aside.
4. Bring water to boil in saucepan. Slowly add in cornmeal while stirring. Cook over medium heat until polenta thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in fresh corn. Add in a handful of grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Stir in some fresh basil leaves. Remove from heat.
1. Serve warm sweet corn polenta topped with roasted tomatoes. Season with sea salt & fresh ground pepper.