This is just the simplest thing to make this time of year when tomatoes are most plentiful and are at their peak taste & flavor wise. TPS made this the other evening and I made it the week-end before last in New York when our niece Emma came to Hawthorne for a visit. We could make and eat this weekly during the season it is so tasty. It is a one bowl meal that could not be easier. Here we go.
Preheat oven to 400 while you get things ready. In a baking dish put in small tomatoes whole. Sprinkle them in the dish with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Then add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and a good amount of torn basil. That is the image below. Roast/bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have begun to pop and open. This is needed as the juices mix with the olive oil to make the sauce for the dish. At the 15 minute point, with a spoon mix things around a bit.
While the tomatoes are cooking away, start a big pot of salted water to boil. Choose whatever type of small pasta you like. Ted really likes bow tie shaped pasta, so that is what he used the other night. Cook pasta.
While those 2 things are cooking away brown a package of the best ground sausage you can get your hands on. Simply put a bit of oil in a pan, break up the meat and cook away until cooked through. If you want a meatless or vegetarian meal, omit the sausage. We do this often and the dish still rocks without the meat.
In a large bowl combine the roasted tomatoes, the cooked pasta and the browned sausage. Mix together. To all of that take feta and crumble about and mix again. Once you have served up things on a plate or in a bowl, top with another bit of feta for the top of the dish. So yummy, so satisfying, so easy. Summer in a bowl. Enjoy!
Actually, make that a watermelon salad with crumbled feta, extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of fleur de sel. That was just tough getting to fit in the above heading. As the Summer season draws to a close, we have been trying to enjoy as much watermelon as we can. Even as we head into Autumn, I want to make this salad every chance we can, if the watermelon are looking good at the grocer. This is really a composed salad with just a few simple ingredients, so use the best you can get your hands on. If you don’t have French fleur de sel, any chunky flaky salt with do.
Cube watermelon and arrange on a plate. Add a small sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil to the cubes as well as a pinch of salt. Add crumbled feta. Done. There is just something about the earthiness of the oil added to the juices of the watermelon mixed with the salt and the saltiness of the feta that just makes this divine. Enjoy!
Many of the farm stands have had beets as part of their offerings. This is a simple salad that is hearty and I think looks so cool with the contrast of the deep hue of the beets and the white of the smattering of feta. Beets can be intimidating and messy. Here is how I cook them to try and avoid both.
Turn oven to 400. Snip the green from the beets. Wash and dry with a paper towel. Put all the beets onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the beets are somewhat soft to the touch. This will vary greatly depending on the size. Once done, take out of the oven and set aside to cool completely. Scatter a handful of walnuts onto another baking sheet and put into oven. Every few minutes shake the sheet to move the walnuts around. You are really just wanting to get them to release their natural oils, so stay with them and take out of the oven when they start of get added color. 5 to 10 minutes max. Set aside. Once the beets have cooled, now you get to cut away the wrinkly skin. I like to do this on a plate, as beets with stain the heck out of cutting boards. With a sharp knife, cut away all the skin of the beet. Then half or quarter beet and put into a large bowl. Do this with the rest of the beets. Once done, add a bit of the very best extra virgin olive oil you have. Add salt and pepper. Mix. Put this mixture onto a plate or platter. Take cooled walnuts and break up a bit and scatter on top of beets. Do the same with good feta. Kind of like snow falling. I like the combo of tiny pieces and large pieces. Lastly, add a few pinches of fresh cracked black pepper to the top. Done. Enjoy.
Farro is the oldest cultivated grain in the world. The hearty kernel also makes it a substantial base for a healthy salad. Saturdays are days I quite often make something to bring to the shop for lunch, as it is such a hopping day. We had a butternut squash in the fridge, so I thought I would roast that up, get a little creative, and see what I could come up with. I love salads where you can mix & match, using things that work well together. Here is what I added to the farro to make a filling lunch for a busy day.
Cook farro to the instructions on package. I like it not so crunchy, so I tend to cook it a bit longer than the norm to get a tad softer. Roast cut up butternut squash at 400 degrees with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft and a bit golden. Set aside. Cut up a shallot into small pieces and add to a bowl with 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let that sit and pickle for a bit. The longer the better. At least 30 minutes is best. While the farro is cooking and the shallots are pickling, take a small pan and dry roast a handful of hazelnuts until warm. This helps bring out the natural oils of the nut, really helping bring out the full flavor of the hazelnuts. Set aside. Once the farro is cooked, take off of heat and add half of the shallots and half of the rice wine vinegar they were sitting in. This will infuse into the warm farro and add quite a bit of flavor. Add a few good pinches of salt and pepper at this stage too. Let cool. Once cooled, add the butternut squash pieces, the remaining shallots, the hazelnuts, a handful of dried cherries, and finish with a good amount of crumbled feta. Mix all together. Taste. Season with more salt if you think it needs it. Also add the remaining vinegar that you pickled the shallots in, if you desire more. Done. A quite healthy and visual lunch.
A happy Monday and start of the week to you all!