Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomato Tart & Pesto - Again (But Different)

I know we just made a tomato tart and a pesto, but they were so darn tasty and we have so many farmers market veggies and so many herbs on the deck that I just had to make a tart & pesto again - but different versions of each.

This time, I made the tomato tart I made last summer. I couldn't stop thinking about tomato tart after last week's tart was gone. I just had to have another one. The one with the roasted tomatoes. Oh my gosh, these roasted tomatoes are so tasty. The recipe says cherry tomatoes, but I used regular ones from the farmers market. Slice, place on parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with fresh thyme and fresh rosemary, season with salt & pepper, drizzle with a wee bit of olive oil, and roast until they are moisture-free/starting to get a little wee bit black around the edges.The tomatoes took 1.5 hours at 350 degrees. I roasted them in the morning and let them cool all day. The assembly is even simpler than last week's tomato tart: roll out puff pastry to 14x12, cut into 2 14x6 pieces, prick with fork, bake at 425 until golden, top with tomatoes, return to oven and bake until golden brown and tomatoes are heated through, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with feta.I think I might like this tart better than the one we made last week. Last week's seemed more like a margherita pizza with the fresh mozzarella and basil. Both are tasty, and I'd make both again, it'll just depend on my mood/taste preferences at that moment in time!Pesto! That's right - non-green, non-moldy, non-sludgy looking pesto. SP came home with lots of tomatoes, red pepper, and eggplant from the farmers market last Friday and as with the tomato tart, I just couldn't stop thinking about the Pesto Calabrese.We made a huge bowl of pasta and this pesto. It's easy to make, but it requires more prep time before the food processor blending than the Walnut-Basil Pesto. We used a shallot instead of onion and a very generous 1/3 cup of basil. Come to think of it, we were very generous with all the ingredients, including a very rounded 1/2 cup ricotta. We used regular tomatoes, not plum, and again, probably used more than what 2 plum tomatoes would have been.Oh. My. This is so good. I couldn't get enough of it in my mouth fast enough. I think I was making happy food noises. Saveur suggests using this pesto as a bruschetta topping, and that would be quite tasty, but we mixed it with pasta and it was delicious. This time, we remembered to add in a few splashes of pasta water for added moisture.

PESTO CALABRESE
From Saveur Issue #140

MAKES ABOUT 1 1/2 CUPS

1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
2 plum tomatoes, cored and minced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup packed basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place eggplant in a colander and toss with 2 tsp. salt; let sit for 20 minutes. Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels; set aside. Heat oil in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat; add pepper and onion, and cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add eggplant, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add ricotta and basil; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

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