Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scalloped Tomatoes

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Pasta is such a common side dish for Italian inspired meals. If it's not pasta, then risotto. But when I made a Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf, I wanted neither of these side dishes to accompany it. What to do? Well, leave it to Ina Garten to offer a great side dish that's a nice change of pace from the usual pasta and risotto. I definitely recommend trying this easy and delicious Scalloped Tomatoes recipe soon!...

Red, ripe tomatoes, buttery toasted bread, fresh basil leaves and a healthy dose of grated parmesan cheese... what's not to love? These are the main components of Scalloped Tomatoes. The original recipe calls for using plum tomatoes but any sweet, ripe tomatoes will work just as well. I also substituted the fresh basil leaves in the original recipe with homemade pesto so that I could get the basil flavor more fully incorporated in the dish. So if you're looking for a recipe to use up those sweet summer tomatoes, this would be it!

Scalloped Tomatoes
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Good olive oil
2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule, crusts removed
16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup homemade pesto
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned. You want the bread cubes to be fully toasted just like croutons so that they don't turn mushy when baked.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the pesto.

Pour the tomato and bread cube mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

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