Too Many Tomatoes (and Other Produce)

The start and end of a season always brings out the greed in me. At the start of the season, I overbuy produce because I’m so happy to see all the new offerings. At the end of the season, I tend to buy more than I need because I know that what’s in the market today will be gone tomorrow.

So it was in this state of mind that Steve and I bought too much of everything at the Alemany Farmers’ Market last week – figs, white nectarines, tomatoes, basil and more.

I always inventory everything before I put my produce away. I hate waste and I feel I can manage my inventory better if I make a list. But having overbought, I was beginning to lose control and it was time for triage.

The most fragile were the tomatoes so we took care of them first. Steve made Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce using fresh plum tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. This is Steve’s favorite pasta sauce recipe, from the Grande Dame of Italian cooking. We had some with pasta and froze the rest.

Friday night, I quartered sweet cherry tomatoes and tossed them with basil leaves, olive oil and garlic to make a fresh sauce for hot cooked spaghetti.

Saturday I made Lori’s easy and yummy Grilled Zucchini, Fresh Garden Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella Salad. With a warm baguette and a glass of wine, it made the perfect supper.

I still have enough produce to make Zoe’s Panzanella, using the leftover baguette from Saturday’s supper.

I confess I’ve had to toss some of the produce (not much) and I’m frantically eating diced fresh fruit with Greek yogurt for breakfast the past week to make sure the fruits aren’t wasted, but I think I’m getting the upper hand on the produce deluge. Now to look ahead to fall!

Here’s the easy recipe for our Friday night’s supper. You don’t really need a recipe but it’s good to have one as a base, from which you can improvise.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Cherry Tomato Fresh Pasta Sauce
Makes 2 to 3 servings

1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti

In medium bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil and basil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Toss with tomato mixture. Add additional olive oil if pasta seems dry and toss well to combine.

Note: This dish is best made with sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes. If your tomatoes aren’t too sweet, add a splash of balsamic vinegar. The amount of salt you need depends on the quality of the tomatoes. If tomatoes are more tart, you may need more salt. Start with 1/2 teaspoon; taste and add more if needed.

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Posted: Sep 9th by Sandy_Hu