Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Linguine with Dried-Tomato Pesto

Jars of oil-packed “sun-dried” tomatoes are plentiful on stores shelves (not sure how many of those tomatoes were actually dried in the sun), but you can get the rich, caramelized flavor of gently dried tomatoes from your own oven in an hour or so. The preparation couldn’t be easier and the ingredients couldn’t be fresher: tomatoes.

Two keys to creating sweet, delicious oven-dried tomatoes: low temperature and very thin slices—about one-tenth of an inch thick. A little drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt provide just enough seasoning to enhance the natural flavor of the fruit.

Large Roma Tomatoes 
Thinly Slice the Tomatoes
Pesto is one of the simplest and tastiest sauces you can add to pasta—no cooking involved. Typically made from fresh basil or other herbs, pesto is also delicious with a dried tomato base, as in this recipe. Of course, if you dry your own tomatoes, there is a little cooking involved here. So easy and so worth it.

For a parsley-based pesto recipe, check out Linguine with Garlic Shrimp in Parsley-Pecan Pesto.

Serves 4

  • 4 large roma tomatoes, cut into 1/10-inch-thick slices
  • extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling, plus 1/3 cup
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup broken pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 oz linguine
Remaining Pesto Ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F. Line a large, shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Lay the tomatoes in a single layer in the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
  3. Place in the oven and dry until very soft and wrinkled, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. When cool enough to handle, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  4. Place in a sealable container and add 1/3 cup olive oil. Seal and let stand at room temperature 2 hours. (The tomatoes may be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate and let stand at room temperature a couple hours before proceeding.)
Tomatoes Ready to Dry
Dried Tomatoes
Chopped Dried Tomatoes 
Tomatoes in Oil
  1. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and lightly toast, shaking the pan frequently to prevent scorching, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a plate and let cool 5 minutes.
Toasted Pecans
  1. Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the oil and place them in a food processor. (Reserve the oil.)
  2. Add the toasted pecans, parsley, garlic, and tomato paste to the processor and season with salt and pepper. Grind until finely chopped.
  3. With the processor on, slowly pour in the reserved oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and process until coarsely smooth. Pour the pesto into a bowl and stir in the cheese.
Ingredients Ready to Grind
Ground Ingredients before Oil 
Pesto with Oil 
Dried-Tomato Pesto
  1. Meanwhile, cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add the pesto and stir well to combine with the pasta.
Divide the linguine and pesto among 4 pasta bowls and serve right away.

Linguine with Dried-Tomato Pesto

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