Whether you live in Alaska or Florida, southern California or New York or any state within these four corners, the one thing we can cherish together are seasonal tomatoes, between late-June throughout most of the month of October when they are at their best!
Little Italy hosts its annual Feast of Gennaro from September 12 - 22nd in New York, and as Italian cooking involves tomatoes to the max, grab them while they are in season and make this recipe. Even if the tomatoes are off-season, they will still be delicious.
Pack them in a jar in olive oil for future recipes. There is no need to refrigerate them if you pack them in olive oil and they will keep for 2 months. If you store them in your refrigerator, you will have a shelf life of approximately 7 days, but trust me, they won't last that long. This recipe is how I got my children to eat raw tomatoes.
Tomatoes are full of antioxidants which ward of so many ailments and are also good for your heart. These sun-dried tomatoes are great chopped into salads, pasta dishes, soups
or anything else you can think of.
20 (or so) Roma tomatoes, cut lengthways and seeds removed
Cooking spray (preferably olive oil spray)
1/4 cup of ready-made basil pesto
3 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
1. Lightly spray a shallow cookie sheet (one that has at least a 1/2 inch lip.) Place the tomatoes, cut side up on the cookie sheet. It's okay to crowd the pan as the tomatoes will shrink dramatically!
2. In a small bowl, combine the pesto, olive oil, thyme leaves and black pepper. Mix well. You should be able to drizzle the pesto mixture from a spoon. If it appears too thick, you can add a little water to thin it out. You can even rub the pesto mixture into the tomatoes with your fingers.
3. Cook the tomatoes for 2 1/2 - 6 hours. See my cook's notes below regarding the length of cooking time and the desired texture of the tomatoes.
You can vary the flavor when you make your sun-dried tomatoes. Add any favorite herbs or spices you wish to the tomatoes before roasting to make them your own.
Cooking between 2 1/2 hours to 6 hours will determine how you want your tomatoes to turn out. After 2 hours the tomatoes will have shrunk considerably, but will still be soft and chewy. You can cook them as long as you want, until the texture is to your liking. Cooking 5 to 6 hours will result in very dark-looking oven roasted tomatoes which can be eaten as a snack or added to salad, soups and stews too!