I’ve been saving these recipes for fresh tomato season to roll around again, and I’m a little befuddled. Someone told me that tomatoes are in season in this part of the world right now, which would make sense, but when I go to the grocery store, do you know what I find? Cardboard-y tomatoes from CANADA. Canada! I can get those in Minnesota in January. I’m unamused. But not undeterred. If I got tripped up on every little ingredient, I’d still be futzing around on the first dozen recipes. Life’s too short for that, so I forged ahead with cherry tomatoes instead. Take that, Texas. CANADA!
First, I made Tuscan Chickpea something-or-other from Foolproof. Think of it as warm hummus without the tahini, but with parmesan cheese. It might look like cat food, but it tasted like a warm garlic hug. In a good way. It’s a little smoother than the recipe called for, but that’s because I let a three-year-old take the wheel, er, food processor, and he gets a little overzealous with that thing. Don’t worry – I supervised him, and he still has all of his fingers intact. The boy loves to press buttons, and this activity keeps him from pressing his brother’s buttons for about five minutes.
Next up, for more food processor action, we tried the tomato crostini with whipped feta, also from Foolproof. This would make a really nice appetizer, or lunch if you felt like it.
The dressing that was used on the tomatoes for the crostini was very similar to the dressing used in the sundried tomato pasta salad, found in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, so I used it again to dress the pasta salad.
What took me so long to make this classic Ina recipe, when the ingredients are simple and it seems like a fairly basic thing to throw together? Well, probably the fact that the original recipe calls for black olives and capers, and that the whole sundried tomato fad seemed to have exited stage left sometime during the 1980s. I solved the briney olive/caper problem by subtracting them and adding some marinated artichoke hearts in their place. I think I could have punched up the flavor even more by using feta in place of some (or all) of the fresh mozzarella, but you’ll never hear me complaining about fresh mozzarella. You’ll see I also used a rainbow farfalle instead of rotini, because that’s a favorite at our house these days. And by the way, a half pound of pasta is a boatload of pasta. I started out with a bowl that was too small, which made me cranky all over again about the Canadian tomatoes, so I had to start over with a gigantic mixing bowl. I’m going to be eating pasta salad all week. I think Neil gets too much of it at church receptions – occupational hazard, I guess – so I’m stuck with it all on my own. I got over the 1980s-ness of the sundried tomatoes in the recipe because the ’80s are cool again. Just ask 1980-something spaceman, Benny, from the LEGO movie. I bet he’d help me eat my vat of pasta salad.