Monday, August 30, 2010

Basil and tomatoes

So what do you do when you have an over-abundance of tomatoes and basil? Italian cooking! In our garden we had a ton of tomatoes that were ripening, and a ton more that were already ripe. And of course TONS of basil, too. I've got two AMAZING recipes I wanted to make.

Bread and Tomato Salad

What you'll need:
Crusty bread (I used 2 crusty baguettes) You can also use a large loaf of crusty bread.
5 medium Vine ripe tomatoes (make sure they're fresh. If you buy them from the store, make sure the vine is still fresh and green)
One bunch of fresh basil
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Garlic Salt

This is my version of Rachel Ray's Bread and Tomato Salad. I saw it on her show a few years ago, and the recipe has transformed over the years to be what it is now. It's one of my favorites! :)
You'll want to start with your baguettes. 
Pick a LARGE bowl for this salad, you'll need it. Cut up your baguette into large bite size pieces. I like my salad to have pretty big chunks in it so it doesn't all turn to mush. If I'm using a baguette like I am this time, I slice it in 3/4 inch slices, and then cut those in half.

Slice your tomatoes into large bite size pieces. I make mine slightly smaller than the bread.

Give the basil a rough chop and throw it into the bowl. Now drizzle it with your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic salt. I don't have any exact measurements for this part, I just do enough to coat it. I usually drizzle a little of each, toss it a couple times, and repeat that a couple more times. 
Taste test it to make sure you've got a good balance of oil, vinegar and garlic. And you're done! This dish tastes best if left in the fridge for 2 or more hours. Enjoy. :)

Tomato Basil Pasta

What you'll need:
Angel hair pasta
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Minced roasted garlic (it comes in a jar in the produce section, make sure you get the roasted and not the raw, since you won't be cooking the garlic).
Fresh grated Parmasan cheese

Once your water starts boiling, add your pasta and a pinch of salt. I usually add a couple drops of olive oil to the water to keep the pasta from sticking to itself.
Angel hair pasta only needs to cook a few minutes, about 5. Taste test a strand to make sure it's the texture you like. 
Drain your pasta. Add enough balsamic vinegar and olive oil to wet the pasta. Add the salt and roasted garlic. Give your basil a rough chop, along with the tomatoes. I like mine to be pretty large pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and taste test to make sure you have enough salt. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Margarita pizza is awesome as well when you have too much of both of these, it's also a delicious, fresh, and affordable dinner. Drizzle olive oil over a pizza crust, put on sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and large slices of mozzarella cheese. Another fresh option for you even though it's a little late :)