Tomatoes are some pretty special produce, aren’t they? They are complemented by a lot of ingredients, and goes with just about everything (even chocolate). Summer tomatoes are fresh, vibrant in their shapes, colours and flavours, and are full of life. I never thought I’d get this excited about tomatoes, but then it was only this year that I have experienced an Italian summer. The varieties on offer are on a different league from what I am used to back in England.
Crates and crates of tomatoes welcomed us in the many fruit and veg markets we visited. From grape cherry to heirloom tomatoes, these plump beauties beautifully decorated the stalls. Do you want to get some then? – my mum asked; I must have been lovingly looking at them.
I knew that my tomato exposure would be high in Tuscany, and of course, I will want to cook with them. Pre-departure, I played with some Eve’s Delight strawberries and vine tomatoes to strengthen my pasta and sauce game. I have seen rave reviews about balsamic-roasted strawberries, and the popular strawberry and basil combination. I combined the two aspects together to create a refreshing, tangy-but-sweet pasta sauce with a kick of chilli.
When I roasted the tomatoes and strawberries together, I was drooling at the thick balsamic syrup they created. This is definitely one of the recipes I am most proud of to date.
One of the best things about going vegan for a month has been the flexibility in food experimentation that I am able to do – my favourite part of baking/cooking! I love adding fruit to savoury dishes, and vegetables to desserts. I do not follow recipes, as such; I often modify them according to my taste or ingredient availability or completely make them up! This may be the Chemist in me shining through, but it is what ignites my kitchen adventures.
For more summer tomato recipes, go here.
Balsamic-roasted strawberry and tomato basil linguine
350 g tomatoes
300 g strawberries
150 g dried linguine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
chilli flakes, to taste
1 tsp paprika
fresh basil leaves, a handful
salt and pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4/180 C.
- Chop the tomatoes into quarters and the strawberries to a similar size. In a roasting pan with sides, place the strawberries and tomatoes with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dried basil. Season and mix well using your hands, until the fruits are well-coated.
- Place in the middle of the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes. Check that the tomatoes and strawberries have disintegrated a little, and the balsamic vinegar has created a syrup.
- Cook the dried linguine according to packet instructions.
- Once roasted, place the contents of the roasting pan in a saucepan under low to medium heat. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and heat through.
- After 5 minutes, using a masher, mash the contents of the pan to make a sauce. A thick sauce consistency ‘with bits’ is what we aim for, rather than a smooth pulp.
- Heat the sauce through for a couple of minutes and add the fresh basil leaves prior to serving.
- Serve with the linguine and add more basil leaves on top for decor. Enjoy!
Are you a fan of adding ingredients that may seem like a faux-pas combination to others? Remember to tag me #themorningbowl if you ever re-create one of my recipes!
Peace and love, Julia | themorningbowl.