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Slow Roasted Tomatoes


There are few things you can find in a salad that I detest more than winter tomatoes. At least in this part of the world, so many of them are grainy, pale coloured and tasteless. Every now and then there are  exceptions – but upon entering the veggie section of the supermarket in winter I tentatively approach the tomatoes, skeptically looking over the various lifeless varieties before fearfully picking one up to see if it smells, even remotely, like a tomato. Usually, it smells like nothing at all, like cardboard, or worse – the truly foul smell of a winter tomato starting to go sour.

Since Caprese salad time is still far in the future – I thought I would post a simple recipe that turns even the most pernicious of winter tomatoes into succulent, flavour packed goodness. Better yet – it is dead easy and these little gems will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge if you pack them tightly into a mason jar and top it up with olive oil. I use them in pasta, salad, pizza, sandwiches – …they enliven pretty much every dish. I have not done it yet but I think they would be fabulous in a martini as well!

Mom-O-Meter 5/5

They take about 5 minutes to get into the oven if you choose to chop the tomatoes in half  or even less if you don’t. There are only three ingredients – two of which I always have on hand (olive oil and sea salt). They are no maintenance while they are cooking and then they are done. Plus they last for weeks (unless your husband eats them with every meal like mine does and then they are gone in a matter of days). There is nothing to lose with this recipe so do it today!!


Slow Roasted Tomatoes

1-2 pints washed cherry, grape or other small tomatoes – this recipe also can be done with larger tomatoes but I prefer the little ones.

2 tablespoons olive oil ( or however much it takes to coat the tomatoes)

sea salt – to taste

1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees. Chop tomatoes into halves. Put tomatoes on a rimmed cookie sheet covered with parchment if you have any (I skipped this step and had to wash the pan but it was not so bad). At this point you can add any fresh herbs or flavour boosters you have on hand like rosemary or whole garlic cloves. Tasty but totally unnecessary – they are great without any other seasoning.

2. Put tomatoes in oven for around 3 hours – if you go longer they will get more dried so it really depends how you like them.

Honeycomb Cannelloni

March 6, 2011 2 comments


Well I am ready for winter to be over! Just when things were starting to melt they go and get cold and snowy again. With that being said I am not sick of winter food yet. We had our Cookbook Club get together this past weekend and the dish I made was so yummy and fun that I had to share it here right away. The presentation is awesome and if you have a dinner party coming up I highly recommend this dish as it serves quite a few plus the name Honeycomb Canneloni just sounds so good!

All in all this dish was pretty easy to make considering it is canneloni and usually you have to stuff each noodle individually, in this case you do not. With the red sauce you can do any variation really. You could make a meat sauce or even a couple jars of yummy store bought sauce would work. This version was a vegetarian version and was chalk full of a variety of veggies that really came together in flavour. It has mushrooms in it but I even had the mushroom haters loving this dish. Feel free to play with this dish and make it to your liking. The only thing I would recommend it to use the right size of pan to cook it in.

Mom-O-Meter: 4 out of 5
There are a lot of ingredients in the following recipe but you can adapt it to your tastes and time restraints. It truly it delicious and chalk full of goodness!


Honeycomb Cannelloni
Adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients

Red Sauce
a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms (I used the whole small bag they came in)
a few tablespoons of olive oil
3 carrots, finely diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 leek, white and light green parts finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
5 x 14oz cans good quality plum tomatoes (if using whole pulse lightly in the blender before adding to the sauce)
a large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped

spinach layer
1 1/2 lb fresh spinach
whole nutmeg

white sauce
1 cup light cream
17 1/2 fl oz crème fraiche (I used 500ml)
4 good quality anchovies in oil, drained and finely chopped (I could not find any so I omitted them)
a handful of grated Parmesan cheese (I used about a cup)

to assemble
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1lb 2oz cannelloni tubes (I used 2 and a half packages of 250g pasta)
olive oil
a casserole pan that it approximately 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep (I used a dutch oven, in which the presentation looked lovely but it looks like Jamie used a metal pot)

Place the dried porcini in a bowl just cover them with boiling water. Leave them to soak for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, carrots, celery, onion and leek. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the portobello mushrooms. Add the porcini, reserving the liquid, to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Strain the porcini liquid and add this to the pot with about a half cup of water. Allow the liduid to reduce slightly, then add the tomatoes and the basil stalks. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for roughly 45 minutes Jamie says that he has a thick ragu, after an hour my sauce was still quite liquidy but it did not seem to matter in the end as the noodles absorb the liquid. Tear in the basil leaves.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and add the spinach, stir, then leave to wilt down. Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Put aside.

To make the white sauce mix the cream, crème fraiche, anchovies (if using) and grated parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste.

To assemble, get the casserole pan out and spoon in some of the white sauce so that it measures about half an inch. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and top with the spinach. Ladle in half of the red sauce and stand your cannelloni tubes in it. Press the tubes down gently with the palm of your hand, the sauce should come up and half fill the tubes. Spoon over the rest of the red sauce, smoothing it down into the tubes (not all of my tubes were filled to the top). Pour over the remaining white sauce, sprinkle over more grated parmesan, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!

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