Today’s post is dedicated to Alice Waters, a true visionary when it comes to local, organically grown food. For those of you who may not be familiar with Alice Waters, she started a small restaurant in the ’80s called Chez Panisse. What began as an idea about how to eat more nutritionally, with the purpose of taking care of the land for future generations, has since evolved into a true food movement. And I’m happy to say, her vision of eating locally grown, in-season vegetables are sprouting up furiously in Nashville.
Alice’s recipes reveal what most good cooks already know: buy local and use simple, high-quality ingredients. That’s probably what attracted me to this recipe of hers, which I make every year when the tomatoes get bustin’ ripe.
As a special treat, I headed to the Nashville Farmers Market to get tomatoes from Smiley’s farms, and fresh mozzarella and pasta from Lazzaroli’s in Germantown. (By the way, Lazzaroli’s make fresh mozzarella on Saturday mornings.) If you get there early, you can be assured of finding the provisions you need. Afternoon, however, all bets are off.
The only ingredients used to make this simple tomato sauce are ripe tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil. Serve over your favorite pasta with a loaf of crusty french bread.
Everyone in my family, from my nine-year-old to my husband, finished every bite.
As we sat around the table dipping crusty French baguettes in the delicious tomato au jus, we decided this was pretty close to heaven on earth. I think that was Alice’s original goal, to celebrate the harvest of Mother Earth by honoring the land and the farmers who put food on our table.
Late Harvest Tomato Sauce
- 8-10 ripe tomatoes (you want them to fill your casserole dish)
- 1/3 cup of high-quality olive oil
- 4-5 cloves of garlic (you can add more if you wish)
- fresh basil, roughly chopped (as garnish)
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (as garnish)
- 1 lb. of linguine, spaghetti or your favorite pasta
- Parboil the tomatoes. For the best result, score the bottom of the tomato with a small paring knife. Place in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove and let cool. The skin will easily peel off after parboiling.
- Peel and core the tomatoes. It is not necessary to remove the seeds. Place in a round or oval casserole dish.
- Take a knife and roughly chopped the tomatoes. It is easier to do in the dish so you can preserve the juices.
- Chop the cloves of garlic and sprinkle on top.
- Pour the olive oil over the top. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 375 for one hour. Serve over pasta. Garnish with fresh basil and cheese.
- Serve over pasta or a crusty baguette.
This growing season was pretty rough on the tomato crop, but usually, in Nashville, the end-of-the-season tomatoes are available through October. Let’s hope we get kissed by the tomato fairy this fall.