Category Archives: tomatoes

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Another Quick Dish–this one can be Vegetarian!

Kalamata Olive Pasta…Otherwise Known as Pasta Puttanesca

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I always have the ingredients for this easy Italian Pasta dish on hand for those busy days when I just don’t want to cook, but I want to eat!  This dinner takes only about 30 minutes, including the salad shown!

Kalamata Olive Pasta (Pasta Puttanesca)

(This recipe is adapted from one found on the Epicurious website)  Serves 6

 

 

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You will need:

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 5 cloves organic garlic, minced or forced through a garlic press
  • 1 TBSP Wild Caught Anchovy Paste
  • 1/2 tsp hot red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 28-oz can of Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup drained pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 TBSP drained organic capers
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh organic basil

Begin:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
Puree the tomatoes in a blender (I used my small food processor because my blender was broken!  Boo! But it worked alright)

 

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Mince or press the garlic
Coarsely chop the olives
When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente
 
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat
Add the garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes, and stir occasionally until fragrant.  This only takes about 2 minutes.
 
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Add the tomato puree to the garlic oil 

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Stir and then add the Kalamata olives and capers, then bring to a gentle simmer and add salt and pepper to taste 

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Meanwhile, chop the basil, and check the pasta to see if it is done.  When it is al dente, drain.  You can toss the pasta into the sauce if you would like.  Or serve the pasta and sauce separately.   

Make the salad–this takes only about 5 minutes!

Easy Caprese Salad

 

This is one of my favs!

You Will Need:

  • Mozzarella Fresca (Fresh Mozzarella), drained.  I like the little balls–they are about 1/2″ rounds
  • Organic cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Organic Basil, coarsely chopped
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh-ground salt and pepper, to taste
Just toss everything together!  I do about half the amount of Mozzarella Fresca to the amount of tomatoes (2 cups of tomatoes, 1 cup of Mozzarella Fresca), then add the basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper to taste

Now Serve!

Stir the basil into the pasta sauce, and pass shredded parmesan cheese, if you’d like.  Everything is ready!
 
We like to have some Lassen’s Baked Rosemary Bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side.

 

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Seriously!  It’s dinner in about a half hour!

This is a perfect meal for a busy summer day when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen!  
 
Happy pasta-ing!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
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My Roasting Obsession

This Time It’s S–L–O–W 

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And I Do Mean SLOW

Remember this post about one of my favorite cooking methods, roasting?  I roast vegetables at least 4 times every week.  That why I was so intrigued when I stumbled across this recipe for Slow Roasted Tomatoes in the Cooking Light magazine that I picked up at the Ventura Lassen’s.

Warning:  Start This In The Morning!

Slow Roasting?  Really?  Roasting to me meant very high temperatures and fast cooking.  
 
So I thought I’d try it.  This is adapted from the Cooking Light recipe.

 

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

 

You’ll Need:

  • 4 lbs (about 16) Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  (Yes, you read that right.  Two Hundred.)

 roasted+tomatoes

Prepare the tomatoes by washing, patting dry, and then cutting lengthwise in half.  I also removed the small core.

Combine the oil, spices, and honey.  It will mix together like a paste.  
 
roasted+tomatoes

Add the cut tomatoes and stir with a large spoon until the tomatoes are coated.  The tomatoes will give off some juice and that will help to get the spices on all of the tomatoes. 

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Place the seasoned tomatoes on a large baking sheet.  I hate to waste anything (blame my depression-era parents) so I scooped the spices and juice that were left in the bowl and spooned it over the tomatoes on the pan. 

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Then pop those babies in the oven and let them slow-roast for 7-8 hours.  Yes.  Hours.   

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I just could not resist checking on them periodically throughout the day.  They smelled so yummy!

Voila!

These were SO. GOOD.  The slow-roasting intensified the flavors of the tomatoes and spices.  Awesome.
 
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I served them as a side dish (with spinach and arugula) to soup, but they would be great tossed in pasta, or next to grilled chicken or fish.  And here’s a bonus–This dish is Paleo!  (See this post for more information about the Paleo diet.)

I wonder what else I could roast slowly?
 
Happy (slow) roasting! 
 
Lassen’s
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Meatless Monday

My daughter likes to call this pasta “Angel’s Red Hair” 

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In keeping with the “Hungry for Change” or even the “Forks Over Knives” documentaries that I have reviewed lately, I thought I would share a favorite family recipe that I have been making for over 25 years.  Farm fresh produce, onions and garlic, olive oil and basil–nothing better that that!  These amounts are to serve 6. (And we love leftovers of this for lunch!)

Onions and Garlic

 
 
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Chop the onion.  I used a medium-sized Spanish Onion.
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And then mince the garlic–if you don’t have one, invest in a garlic press.  So much easier than mincing by hand!  I used four cloves.

And Here’s a Handy Tip…

Here’s a technique that helps me avoid one of the most annoying tasks when I cook–peeling tomatoes.  I learned this technique way back when I helped my mom bottle tomatoes every summer.
 
First, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Then wash your tomatoes (I used about 3 lbs of Roma tomatoes.
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Drop the washed tomatoes carefully into the boiling water.

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The water will stop boiling, but that’s ok.  Some of the tomatoes will float to the top, so push them back down with a spoon so they stay in the water.  After about a minute, scoop up one of the tomatoes and prick the skin with a sharp knife. If the skin splits open, they are ready.

 

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Scoop the tomatoes out into a strainer.  Put them under running water to cool and stop them from cooking further.

 

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Core and peel the tomatoes.  The skins will slip right off!

 

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Then chop the tomatoes and set aside.
 
Make sure your water comes back to a boil, and if you are using spaghetti, start cooking it in the boiling water.  If you are using angel hair or capellini pasta, wait to cook it (It only takes about 2-3 minutes of cooking time.)
 
Heat about 2 TBSP olive oil in a large pan, then add the onions and garlic and sautee over medium heat until soft and translucent.

 

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Add the tomatoes.

 

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Stir and bring to a slow simmer.  Season to taste with salt, and if desired, pepper (I never use pepper in this recipe, but some people really love it!)  If you are using the thin pasta–angel hair or capellini–put it in the water now.

 

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When it has come to an easy simmer, add chopped fresh basil and stir.  Check the pasta to see if it is tender, and when it is, drain the pasta.

 

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Now dinner is ready to serve!

 

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This is a great main dish for a light supper, or even a side dish if you’d like to have some grilled chicken or fish.  If you’d like serve with shredded parmesan cheese.  Lately we have been enjoying the Lassen’s brand Rosemary Sourdough Bread when we eat Italian, too.  Tonight I’ll make some sauteed Italian Squash, and we’ll have a great meal!
 
Happy Meatless Monday!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s