Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: tomato

There are many versions of this recipe in Italian cuisine. Some call for the addition of peas or meat. I like to keep them simple and I like to use leftover risotto instead of plain rice because risotto has more flavor, especially the Lemon flavored Risotto I shared with you last week.

This recipe makes 10 rice balls

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chili tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
14 oz box or can of finely chopped Italian tomatoes

For the Arancini {Rice Balls}
4 cups leftover risotto or cooked white rice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 eggs
10 ½-inch pieces of mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup flour
½ cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

For the tomato sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the arancini

Beat one egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley and risotto. Mix well.


Using a ¼ cup muffin scoop form 10 rice balls and place them on a waxed paper-covered plate. Push a piece of mozzarella into each rice ball and with floured hands form them into smooth balls. Beat the second egg with a few tablespoons of water in a deep bowl, In a second deep bowl place the flour, and in a third deep bowl place the panko crumbs.


Roll one rice ball in flour, then in the egg, and then in the panko crumbs. Return the ball to the paper-lined plate. Repeat the process with all the rice balls. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

In a deep dutch Oven heat several inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Fry the ball in the oil until they are brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To serve
Place several tablespoons of tomato sauce on a serving plate. Place 2 or 3 arancini on top of the sauce and serve.


The traditional pizzaiola sauce is made with just tomatoes but I like to add peppers and onions.

4 Servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
One 14-ounce container of chopped Italian tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 lb cod fillets, cut into 3-inch pieces

Directions:

Warm the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the dried seasoning. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cod fillets and ladle some of the sauce over the fillets. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked through.

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 egg
1/3 cup AP flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 °F.

Cut zucchini into fry size pieces about 2 1/2 inches long.
Beat egg with a splash of water.
Season the flour with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.
Dust zucchini with flour.
Dip in beaten egg.
Coat with Panko bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, careful not to crowd, and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini sticks and bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese before serving. if desired.


Ingredients

4 servings

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup seafood broth
2 tablespoons capers
2 lb skinless sea bass fillet, about 1 ½-inch thick, cut into 4 pieces
8 large fresh or frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 large sea scallops
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves stems removed
Crusty Italian bread for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with a cover over medium heat. Add onions, celery/ Cook, stirring regularly until softened (about 4 minutes). Add thyme, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook briefly until fragrant (about 30 more seconds).
Stir in the white wine. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and capers. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until flavors combine.


Pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Insert the fish pieces into the cooking liquid, and give everything a gentle stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and cover the skillet. Let sit off the heat for another 5 minutes so that the fish will finish cooking. Fish should be flaky when gently pulled apart with a paring knife. Finally, stir in the chopped parsley.
Ladle the hot fish stew into serving bowls. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.


Sausage Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
`/2 cup finely chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 containers (2- 26 and 1-14 oz) chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tomato container filled with water

Directions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and site until tender about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, seasoning, and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and add the sausage to the sauce. Partially clever the pot and simmer the sauce until thickened for about 2 hours.

Baked Ravioli

Depending on how many ravioli you want to make, you can place the second layer of ravioli over the first layer. This is such an easy way to cook ravioli and makes clean up
easy plus the ravioli don’t come apart in boiling water.

Ingredients

1 lb frozen ravioli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Sausage Tomato Sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place 1 cup of sauce in an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish.
Make one layer of ravioli, cover completely with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Continue with the second layer making sure ravioli are completely covered with sauce.
Cover and bake for 30to 40  minutes depending on how many layers are in the dish.
Uncover and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve the sausage on the side.

Serve with a leaf lettuce salad with added sliced red onion and Kalamata olives.


Cod Parmigiana

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 cup panko Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz cod or another firm thick white fish fillet
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz fresh mozzarella sliced
Cherry Tomato Sauce, below

Directions

Place flour on a plate and add a pinch of salt and pepper. In a bowl, beat the egg with a little water. On another plate, mix bread crumbs with Parmesan.

Coat fish fillets in flour, dip in egg mixture, shake off excess, and coat with bread crumb mixture. Heat oil in a deep skillet with a cover. When the oil is hot, add the breaded fish and cook on both sides until brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Clean out the skillet and add half to the cherry tomato sauce recipe. Heat for a few minutes and return the fish to the pan.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and place the mozzarella cheese evenly on the fish. Cover the pan and heat on low until the mozzarella melts.

Cherry Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
28 oz can Italian cherry tomatoes (Cento)
1 large sprig of basil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon capers

Directions

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper. When the onion is tender add the tomatoes, basil, and honey. Break the tomatoes up a little with a wooden spoon and cook for 15–20 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the capers.

Orzo with Diced Zucchini

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat orzo
1 teaspoon salt plus extra for seasoning
1 medium zucchini diced into ½ inch cubes
½ cup diced white onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Add salt to a large saucepan of boiling water. Stir in orzo and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In the same pot heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Cook for two minutes and add the zucchini. Stir and cook for three more minutes. Add drained orzo, turn heat to low, and let the mixture heat. Serve with the cod.


Ingredients

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 whole fresh San Marzano tomatoes
8 basil leaves fresh, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
Flour
2 tuna fillets, 5-6 oz each
Kosher or Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
12 kalamata olives pitted, left whole
1 tablespoon capers rinsed

3 oz cooked thin spaghetti

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften about 3 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and saute until golden, about 2 minutes longer.
Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Lightly season the tuna steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each fillet in flour.
In another skillet, large enough to hold the fish in a single layer, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Add the floured tuna to the skillet, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 2 – 3 minutes per side.
Pour the reserved sauce directly over the fish, reduce the heat to low, and add the olives and capers, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Divide the cooked pasta between two serving plates. Place tuna and sauce over the pasta and garnish with parsley.

Serve with Roasted Broccoli.


3-4 servings

Ingredients

12-ounce sustainable, wild-caught swordfish or tuna fillet, 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 celery rib, finely chopped
28 oz container Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
½ teaspoon dried red chile flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Aromatics, to taste (bay leaves, thyme, rosemary)
10 black olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
8 oz short pasta

Directions

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and cook, stirring with the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Add capers, celery, and olives; cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and herbs of choice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add salt and drizzle with oil; return to a boil. Add pasta, stirring, until water returns to a boil. Cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
Pour the sauce into the empty pasta pot and keep warm

Slice the swordfish into two ½-inch thick slices. Cut each into 1-inch cubes.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the empty skillet. Add the swordfish and season with salt and black pepper. Cook the swordfish until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving platter. Pour half of the sauce over the pasta. Top with the swordfish and pour the remaining sauce over the fish and pasta. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


Tomatoes are at their peak now in my area and they are plentiful. Here are some ideas on what you can cook with them.

Greek Tomato And Eggplant Tart

Pastry
1 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons of ice-cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal or semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Filling
1 small (about 1 lb) eggplant, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

For the pastry
Mix the yogurt and ice water together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix together the flours, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have small pieces. Add the water/yogurt mix one tablespoon at a time to the flour mixture, mixing gently. Gather the wet dough pieces together and shape into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, it will be soft. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours (can be frozen for one month).

Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Brush eggplant slices with oil and broil on high for 5 minutes on each side until tender. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place a piece of parchment on a smooth surface and lightly flour. Top with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to 11 inches in diameter, Transfer to an ungreased 9-inch pie plate.

Layer in the following order: eggplant slices, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, herbs, feta cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. Crimp the edges of the pastry.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the layers are bubbly and hot. Cool for at least ten minutes or until room temperature before serving.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

4-5 pounds of fresh Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded retaining as much pulp as possible
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
1-2 teaspoons honey, if needed

Herbs
Place the following herbs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth closed.

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of parsley

Directions

Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots.
Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the tomatoes and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat, covered, for about an hour until the tomatoes cook down.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth.
Return the pot to the heat and add the herb cheesecloth package.
Taste the sauce to see if the tomatoes were too bitter. Add the honey, if needed.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and thick, an hour to an hour and a half more. Remove the cheesecloth package and discard it.
Pour the sauce into a refrigerator container and store the sauce up to 1 week, or freeze in batches.


Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta

Use beautiful heirloom tomatoes that are in season now along with lots of fresh herbs.

For two servings:

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 scallion, white and green parts, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced\
1 large heirloom tomato, about 1 lb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
Fleur de sel

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, parsley, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside for up to 30 minutes.
Slice the tomato into ¼ inch thick slices. You should get 4 slices. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the tomato slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle with reserved basil and fleur de sel, and serve at room temperature.

Summer Fresh Tomato Salad

2-3 servings

Ingredients

½ cup diced red onion
1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges
Shredded fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Place the onion, tomatoes, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a salad serving bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.


Fra Diavolo is a spicy sauce for pasta and seafood. Most versions are tomato-based and use chili peppers for spice. Fra Diavolo is served over pasta with shellfish that roughly translates to “among the devil,” getting its name from the hot pepper that gives it its signature heat. It’s traditionally made with shrimp or lobster, and sometimes clams
Debate rages on whether this dish originated in Italy or in one of America’s Italian American communities. Regardless of its origins, it is popular in restaurants, but lobster Fra Diavolo is rarely found in cookbooks. I grew up with spicy shellfish pasta, especially for Christmas Eve, so here is my version. I use lobster tails because they are easier to cook with and eat with the pasta.

4 servings

Ingredients

250g (8 1/2 oz) long pasta
4 small lobster tails, about 4 oz each, split in half down the middle lengthwise
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 (28 oz) containers chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Calabrian chili paste or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh basil
1 cup seafood broth or clam juice
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

In a sauté pan that will be large enough to hold the lobster and cooked pasta, sauté the garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 30 seconds. Add the seafood broth and simmer for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chili paste, basil sprig, and salt to taste, or about 1 teaspoon. Simmer until the sauce is reduced about 1 hour. Add the lobster tails cut side down, bring the sauce back to a low boil and cook the lobster for about 5 minutes or until the shells turn red and the meat turns white.

Boil a large pot filled with water. When it comes to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt and the pasta, and cook very al dente.

Place the lobster tails on a plate and set aside. Remove the basil sprig. Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce, along with a ladleful of the pasta cooking water. Let the pasta simmer in the sauce, mixing it well, and making sure every strand is coated with the sauce. Pour the pasta on to a serving platter and top with the lobster tails. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


Roasted Potatoes And Green Beans

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds baby gold potatoes, halved
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 whole bay leaves
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and add the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Arrange the green beans on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until veggies are just tender. Stir the mixture halfway through the baking time. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Italian Tomato and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta Sauce

This sauce is also excellent for an appetizer spread on toasted slices of Italian bread.

Bruschetta Sauce

ingredients

5 Roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, about 8, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.

Baked Chicken Bruschetta

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup Italian Tomato and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta Sauce, recipe above
2- 4 large slices Mozzarella cheese

Directions

Place the chicken cutlets in an oiled baking dish and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake in the oven alongside the potato/green bean pan. After 25 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and spread the chicken evenly with the Bruschetta sauce and cover with slices of mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes more to melt the cheese. Serve with the potatoes and green beans.



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