Monday, September 9, 2013

Eats - Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Hello! At this time of year, our local farmer's market has vendors selling large amounts of tomatoes at very reasonable prices. Undoubtedly many people buy tomatoes in quantity for canning. I don't do canning, but still bought a nice supply of Roma tomatoes recently to use in various recipes. What isn't eaten right away is stored in the freezer.

Last night I made a batch of roasted roma tomatoes. This is a recipe I clipped from a newspaper in Philadelphia while living there in the 1990's. The newspaper credited the recipe to a Frank Audino, who at that time was running an Italian restaurant called Aglio. Audino commented that it's a very versatile recipe: the tomatoes can be served as an appetizer (which is what he did at Aglio), heated up to toss with pasta, or processed to make a sauce. 

I have done both the heat-up-and-serve-with-pasta and turn-into-sauce routes. For freezer storage, I think the tomatoes hold up better when pureed into sauce first.

Here is the recipe:

Roasted Roma Tomatoes (adapted from Frank Audino's Roast Tomato Recipe)

Roma Tomatoes
Sea Salt
Garlic (can use any form of garlic - fresh or dried).
Dried herbs of your choice (the recipe calls for thyme, but I use basil) 
Olive Oil
Hot Peppers (optional; I use red pepper flakes)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut Roma tomatoes in half and place them, cut side up, on a baking sheet deep enough to hold the juices inside. (Line sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean-up.) Top with sea salt, pepper, garlic, dried herbs, and optional hot peppers. Drizzle olive oil on top. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. Let cool and store in refrigerator. 

As you can see, this is easy to do. Use the above seasonings as guidelines; put on what you like. 

I did make one change to the recipe. The skins are left on the tomatoes, but I don't care for the texture of cooked tomato skins. So I just wait until the tomatoes have cooled down after cooking and peel the skins off. They slip off easily, and so this step takes only about 2-3 minutes for the whole recipe. But if the cooked skins don't bother you, go ahead and leave them on. 

Also - although the recipe doesn't say anything about the seeds, I do remove as many as I can from each half. This is also a quick step, but again, optional.

A couple pictures of the process:

The Roma tomato halves seasoned and ready to go into the oven. 

This is a portion of the finished product - cooled and peeled, the tomatoes are now ready to use. 

Just out of curiosity, I looked up Aglio online to see if it's still in business, and learned it is not. However, I came across one woman's fond remembrance of the restaurant - and she said she especially enjoyed these tomatoes!


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