Thursday, August 2, 2012

'Tis the Season for Tomatoes

It is the most precious time of the year for tomatoes. Yes, precious. They are perfectly in season, ripe, sweet and juicy. Cherries, Heirlooms, Green Zebras, Purple Cherokees, Sun Golds, Indigo Rose, it seems there are an endless variety of tomatoes to be found at your local farmer's market. And if you think you don't like tomatoes, I dare you- get to your local market and try one of the many delicious, flavorful tomatoes grown in the richest soil in this fabulous summer sun. Supermarket tomatoes don't even compare,  some are actually picked green and ripened using ethanol gas to bring tomatoes to your table year round. This is not natural by any means and eliminates the beauty of eating seasonal foods.

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Most commonly known for their high content of lycopene, an antioxidant that is extremely protective against breast, prostate, colon, lung and skin cancer. It is also helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease. Lycopene is actually more readily absorbed if the tomatoes have been cooked and are consumed with extra virgin olive oil. This is one of the many reasons why the Mediterranean diet is so healthful. So you can eat your bowl of spaghetti with a smile on your face knowing your body is loving that rich tomato sauce. Use brown rice pasta if you want an even bigger smile :)

Simply Marinara Pasta
5-6 large Brandy Wine tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
2-4 garlic cloves
1/2 C freshly chopped basil
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
brown rice pasta 
1. Slice, dice, chop the tomatoes however you please. They will cook up anyway you cut them. Place in a dutch oven.
2. Slice, dice, chop the onion. Again, you can do big chunks or dice them, whichever you prefer. Add to your tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 2-4 hours.
3. Mince garlic and chop your fresh basil.
4. When ready to eat, cook your pasta according to directions. With rice pasta you want to be sure to not overcook it, generally 8-10 minutes is plenty.
5. Place steaming hot pasta in a large bowl, top with tomatoes and onions, the raw garlic and fresh basil, plenty of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked garlic.

This pasta is very versatile and gives you a nice foundation for any Italian meal. You can substitute any tomatoes and add other veggies like sliced zucchini or yellow squash, kale or throw in a handful of raw spinach and let it wilt. Add shrimp, some grass-fed ground beef, or sauteed chicken. The variations are endless! Adding the raw garlic in at the end preserves it's nutrient value. Likewise with the olive oil you are preventing any heat damage and keeping the quality of the fats intact by adding it to the pasta once it's been removed from the stove top.

Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

  1. Wait!!! I never saw this post!!! It's freakin amazing!! That picture is amazing!!!!!!!!