Last week my local QFC had two pounds or grape tomatoes for only $3.99. What a deal. And as I like to say, when life gives you tomatoes make tomato confit.
So, yesterday I did just that. I use the method from the Tom Douglas cookbook Tom's Big Dinners, but I switched the herbs around a bit to use what I had on hand.
I put all the tomatoes I had left (I had to eat a few) on a baking sheet (I used a small one so that I could roast in my toaster oven) added a few cloves of garlic and a bunch of fresh oregano. I topped this off with olive oil (not the really good stuff, just the kinda good stuff) plus a generous helping of salt and fresh ground black pepper.
I roasted this at 225 degrees for 3 hours, then let it cool before stashing it in the fridge (it is sooo much better the next day).
Now, tomato confit is one of my favorite things on the planet. It smells so good while it is cooking and can be used for so many things, as a condiment for meat or poultry (maybe even fish but I haven't tried it) as a bruschetta topping, or, as I am going to use it, as part of a pasta dish.
I took a look in my very full crisper drawer and found a lot of vegetables that I would usually like to roast. The problem with that is, it's almost 80 degrees out, so grilling seems like a much better idea. Luckily I remembered one of my favorite cooking tools, my grill saute basket. With it I'm able to take produce that is too small to grill (broccoli, for example) put it in the basket and get the high heat cooking of roasting with the ease of sauteing.
Here's the ingredients for the veggies:
sugar snap peas
3 clove garlic
salt and pepper
You'll notice that I didn't really put any amounts, that is because I used what I had, and other veggies would work here too (cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, etc.).
I chopped the broccoli, carrots and asparagus into bite-sized pieces, julienned the onion and chopped the garlic. In a large bowl, I combined these with the snap peas, olive oil and salt and pepper.
I put all this into my grill basket and put it on the grill.
I tossed the veggies every few minutes (for about a half hour) until they were crisp tender and char-cooked.
For the pasta:
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 Tablespoon olive oil from the tomato confit
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
I added the pasta to boiling water and coked it until it was al dente. I drained it, reserving some of the pasta water.
To the now empty pasta pan I added the olive oil and anchovy paste, then stirred in the ricotta cheese and the pasta, adding enough reserved pasta water to loosen it up (make it saucy).
1 cup tomato confit
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
really good Parmesan
I doused the tomatoes with the vinegar and then heated it for one minute in the microwave. Then I stirred in the parsley.
In my bowl I placed my finished pasta, then layered on my grilled veggies, and topped it with the tomato confit and a dusting of Parmesan.
How was it? Well, the tomato confit smelled insanely good while it was cooking, then the grilled veggies smelled insanely good while they were cooking, so I had very high hopes, and I was not disappointed. Each part of this dish was sooo good on it's own, but together, wow. I loved this so much, light, but filling and just good.
The husband, though, well, I have to discount his opinion a bit since he doesn't really like broccoli, asparagus or tomatoes. So while he ate it, he certainly didn't enjoy it as much as me. But it doesn't look like he cares.
As an aside, while I was making my tomato confit, I was also making strawberry sauce and strawberry-rhubarb jam. I have more of this than I know what to do with, so if you would like either one, the first five people that let me know their preference shall receive it.