Our local urban farming maven sent out the call over Facebook: Come and pick us clean on Sunday. We’re plowing under the field to plant anew. Everything must go: tomatoes, onions, eggplants, corn, peppers and MORE!
So early Sunday morning I rose, got my coffee and headed out to the fields. Fresh veg? Love it. FREE fresh veg? Even better.
So what if deep in the back of my mind I knew I was likely to let the whole lot go bad in a bag on my kitchen table. I always start out with good intentions.
It was overcast. Not too cold. But chilly enough for a hoodie. Also quiet and serene. I wandered the rows plucking what remained of the tomatoes, finding one or two every other plant hidden far underneath the leaves. I wish now I’d gone ahead and taken a photo of the row in front of me, strewn with drying tomatoes in red and orange and yellow, but I got annoyed at myself for the impulse to document my every action for social media. Eff it, It thought. Let me just do this and not document it.
I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but the pasta fresca I made tonight using all those tomatoes came out so nicely, what the heck.
I riffed on this recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home book (page 184)
4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
6-8 large fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 large garlic clove(s) minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
one pound butterfly or fusilli pasta
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes ( didn’t have this, didn’t use, woulda been really yummy tho.)
grated Parmesan cheese
Set aside one cup of the tomatoes and a few basil leaves. Puree the rest in a a blender or food processor with the garlic and olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
cook your pasta. Drain it, toss it immediately with the mozzarella cubes if you’ve got them, then throw it back into the pot and add the tomato puree. Mix well. The heat of the pasta will heat up the tomatoes.
Put into your festive pasta bowls. Top with the remaining tomatoes and basil. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
And maybe your kids will make you open a can of olives too. They will eat all with gusto, and they will make you feel virtuous because you didn’t let a bag of free tomatoes go over, after all.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow I try to make pesto with my own basil…