Monday, August 23, 2010

Roasted tomato zucchini stew

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Tomatoes, zucchini and basil: Is there a better way to put summer on a plate? I wish I could say that the ingredients for this roasted tomato zucchini stew came from my garden, but alas, coastal southern California is not kind to tomatoes and zucchini - mine get mildew, fungus, blight, or some other ailment whenever I'm brave enough to plant them. Fortunately, the farmers who sell at our local markets live inland, where even during cool summers like this one they get enough heat to ripen their tomatoes.

These tomatoes, in fact, came from my friend Bennett, who has more than 20 tomato plants growing in his backyard in the Hollywood hills. We dropped off our younger son for a playdate and came home with 10 pounds of gorgeous, ripe tomatoes in varying colors and sizes. I cut the smaller ones in half and the bigger ones into wedges and oven-roasted them for a few hours, then added them to zucchini that I'd sauteed with onions and garlic. Roasting the tomatoes adds an extra step, but I think it's worth it - you just can't get that intense flavor otherwise.

I'm cutting down on carbs these days (doctor's orders), so I ate this with a spoon, but it would be extraordinary over pasta. And it was great at room temperature the next day.


Roasted tomato zucchini stew
  • 1.5 lbs fresh tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced or cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes into thick wedges. Place the wedges on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet, skin-side down; you want the flesh of the tomatoes exposed to the hot air inside the oven. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes about 90 minutes, or until they are starting to shrivel and brown around the edges. They won't be dry - you just want to get some of the water out of them and concentrate the flavors.

Meantime, slice two of the zucchini into thin half-moons. Grate the other two. The grated zucchini will melt into the stew and give it body, while the sliced zucchini will stay more or less intact.

When the tomatoes are done, start the stew: Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. When the onion has softened, raise the heat a little and add the sliced zucchini. (Zucchini has a lot of water, so it's important to raise the heat at this point - you want the zucchini to brown, not steam.) Saute the zucchini until most of it is golden brown, then add the garlic. Saute one minute, then add the tomatoes and shredded zucchini. When the mixture is bubbling, turn down the heat. Simmer uncovered about an hour, or until the stew no longer looks watery. Sprinkle with grated cheese and basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

4 comments:

Monet said...

Not only is there a fun playdate...but there is the gift of fresh produce! Sounds like a wonderful combination. This looks like a perfect plate of summer goodness! Thank you for sharing love!

Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro said...

My vegetables kinda sucked this year, too. In fact, the butternut squash just gave up over the weekend. Guy at the nursery said "it didn't get hot enough this year." :(

So glad your friends had better luck! This stew looks delicious.

Happy week,

[K]

Margaret Studer said...

Wow, that looks delicious. I just do not want to turn on my oven right now.

Erika said...

@Margaret - I can understand not wanting to turn on the oven. Mine is well insulated, but even so I hate baking when the weather is hot.

@Monet - you are the queen of the blog comments. How is it you always get to my posts first, and you always have something witty to say? I am in awe. (And thank you.)

@Kim - I guess it will be a good fall/winter for lettuce....

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