August Harvest – Tomato Sauce Fresh off the Vine

Here in the Northeast it’s time to start harvesting what we planted in the late Spring. The tomatoes and zucchini are ripe on the vines, the herbs are fragrant and time to start cooking some dishes with them. Last time I posted my zucchini bread recipe and the other week some nice salads for using those cherry tomatoes this Summer. Have you tried that Orzo salad recipe yet? It’s a wonderful side dish with grilled meats.

There is nothing better than the taste of ripe tomatoes from the garden. I love using ripened cherry tomatoes for salads, Roma tomatoes for creating yummy pasta dishes or sliced Beefsteak tomatoes for putting on juicy burgers that were cooked on the grill. The possibilities are endless.

Here is my delicious recipe using fresh Roma tomatoes on pasta. We are a bit partial to having this fresh sauce on angel hair but you can use what ever pasta you prefer. The juicy chunks of fresh tomato, along with a simple garlic and basil sauce flavors this pasta dish. An easy Summer dish for you to enjoy at home.

So whether or not you are growing your own tomatoes or buying them from the market or vegetable stand this is a recipe you should really try.

Fresh Roma tomato sauce over angel hair pasta

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce over Pasta

A simple fresh tomato sauce recipe made with just barely cooked tomatoes, garlic, basil and seasonings comes together in no time!

2 1/4-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (I’ve often used Roma, or Cherry but any tomato you have on hand.)

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 teaspoon Sugar, optional

1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves – chopped

1 Tablespoon Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley – Chopped

½ teaspoon Salt (to taste)

Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)

1 or more Garlic cloves – minced (depends how much garlic you like)

1 pound of your favorite spaghetti or angel-hair pasta or rotini/fusilli or penne

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Core and coarsely chop two-thirds of the tomatoes. Halve the remaining tomatoes down the middle and discard the tough top part where the tomatoes met the stem.

Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl. Leave the tomato pulp in the bowl and discard any skin.

Add the chopped tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, parsley, basil, freshly ground black pepper and the minced garlic to the bowl.

Mix well. Let the mixture marinate while you cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and then cook the pasta just until al dente, according to package directions.

Reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.

Drain the pasta, then immediately return it to the pot. Pour in all of the tomato sauce and the cup of the pasta cooking water.

Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, tossing gently and often, you want this step just long enough for the tomatoes to gently warm through and soften a bit.

Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan cheese.

Optional – You can add cooked shrimp or scallops to this dish if you would like to add a light seafood protein.

Fresh cherry tomato basil sauce over angel hair and cooked shrimp

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Baked Parmesan Tilapia in the Instant Pot Vortex Oven with Basil Penne on the side.

I had been away a bit longer than I had planned. Since the beginning of Summer, my weekend time where I usually enjoy writing about my cooking adventures has been filled with vacation time, house projects, and several milestone birthday parties that needed planning, all great times but it means time away from my computer. So I am trying to pull back the reins to get back on track which can be difficult when you are an easily distracted person like myself.

One of the most exciting things I purchased while on vacation was an Instant Pot Vortex Oven. It is just what I needed now that we are empty nesters and don’t necessarily need to use our larger oven for smaller weeknight meals. Years back I had one of those Showtime Rotisseries which I loved using, but unfortunately during a kitchen renovation when we put it in storage the oven was damaged and became unusable. I enjoyed having a rotisserie for roasting chickens and roasts. While the IP Vortex is a bit smaller than the Showtime Rotisserie it will still do the job perfectly. So I have been having fun making dishes this hot Summer while avoiding heating up the house which is a plus.

Here is a photo of my first time cooking in the IP Vortex making chicken wings in the rotisserie basket and I also made home cut fries that turned out great.

One hot night this past week, I made an easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia in the IP Vortex oven. You can easily adapt this recipe to be made in any oven.

Baked Parmesan Tilapia

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two large pieces of Tilapia fish fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning for rubbing on to the fish
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste

On a plate or small cutting board sprinkle the Old Bay seasoning on both sides of the fish. Mix the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and garlic powder in a small bowl. With the fish still on the plate apply the mayonnaise mixture to the top of the fish. Transfer the fish to the baking tray. I set the oven to bake then baked these two lovely pieces of fish at 380 degrees for 12 minutes. They came out golden brown, moist and delicious. I served the fish with a few lemon slices and a side dish of penne pasta tossed with pesto made with fresh basil from our garden.

Basil Pesto Sauce

3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts walnuts, almonds, pignoli (pine) nuts or pecans
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper. Toss over warm pasta. (Note: You may want to reserve a cup of the pasta water to thin the pesto sauce should you feel it is a bit too thick)

Enjoy, and thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you will share it with family and friends.