Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tomato Pesto

Saw this recipe for Tomato Pesto on Serious Eats earlier this year, and we've been making it regularly since. As its super easy to make and quite tasty, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Recipe: Pasta with Tomato Pesto

1/4 cup (one 6-ounce can) tomato paste, preferably organic
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato juice
2 plump garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled, and roughly chopped
1 pound dried mostaccioli, penne, or rigatoni
Freshly grated pecorino Romano

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, cayenne, tomato juice, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Run the motor until you have a smooth purée. Set aside at room temperature while you cook the pasta. (You can cover and refrigerate the pesto, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before boiling the pasta.)

3. Generously salt boiling water; drop in dried pasta. Cook, according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Add enough of the pesto to coat noodles generously. Add a little pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if pesto seems too thick. Sprinkle with Romano, and pass more cheese and any remaining pesto at the table.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tomato Paella

Upon reading about this recipe on Mark Bittman's "Minimalist" column in the NYTimes (See video here), HyeRyung and I both agreed it was something we had to try. However the lack of an oven-safe saucepan, late summer heat without A/C in the kitchen, crappy neighborhood tomatoes, and no saffron, our attempt at homemade Paella had to wait. Yet despite the passing of several weeks, we kept this dish in our hearts, and finally this weekend, we were able to get everything together.

Before locally grown fresh tomatoes go out of season, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It is easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Recipe: Paella With Tomatoes

Time: 30 minutes

3 1/2 cups stock or water
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
Minced parsley for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.

2. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another minute or two. Add liquid and stir until just combined.

3. Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, return pan to oven for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.