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.
- 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)
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.