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PENNE with HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, BASIL, GREEN BEANS and FETA

I haven’t posted a recipe in quite a while, but tonight’s dinner was so damn good, I really want to share it with you.  It was an easy dish to prepare, with a little earlier in the day prep.

Before I post the recipe I just have to extoll the virtues of using fresh ingredients;  Spending some summer time at the Jersey Shore affords me with an unbelievable assortment and supply of fresh vegetables and herbs.  I don’t have a garden in my yard because I’m not here consistently to keep it watered and weeded.  NO PROBLEM!  I have my own basil plants and peppermint and my neighbor who is growing oregano, thyme and rosemary has told me to help myself any time, any day.  And for the vegetables themselves, I love going to Matt’s Farm Stand.  We have been feasting on the corn so sweet, it’s like sugar on a stick, tomatoes so sweet and juicy that adding basil, is like gilding the lily.  Matt grows a lot of his own vegetables and obtains the rest from farmers around the Garden State.

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Penne with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Green Beans and Feta Cheese **

That’s enough about that, here is the recipe.

2 Cups chopped fresh tomatoes (I used regular tomatoes)

6-8 oz. green beans, trimmed, strings removed and cut in half if they are long

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 plump garlic clove, minced

2 TBS slivered basil

Sea salt and ground pepper

3/4 # penne

2 oz. crumbled Feta cheese

Combine olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Let sit for up to 4 hours or less (I put it together and went to the beach for a couple of hours).

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the string beans and boil for about 5 minutes.   Prepare a bowl of ice water.  Remove the string beans with a slotted spoon and put into the ice water.  Once cool, drain and put aside.

Bring the water back to a boil, cook the pasta till al dente per package instructions;  A minute or so before the pasta is done, drop the string beans into the pot with the pasta.

Drain and toss with the tomato mixture, add the Feta, toss to mix and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Easy, delicious, vegetarian, perfect for a summer supper!

** The photo is from the NY Times recipe.  I strongly advise using plump juicy red tomatoes instead of Heirloom which are not as juicy.  I also chopped my tomatoes much smaller so I would get a more sauce-like consistency. I cut the beans in half and slivered the basil.  This photo looks like Food photography and not at all like mine looked.

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This was a very good Tasty Tidbits Tuesday – we just finished dinner and it was delicious and as my husband put it “very interesting, very unusual and it tastes delicious too and I’ve never tasted anything like it”.

Last night Angela and Seth joined us for some wine and apps on the porch.  It was a warm evening and since it’s getting dark so early these days, we scattered candles all around giving the porch a soft and inviting atmosphere.  We sat and talked for quite some time drinking most of the bottle of Malbec they brought.  Angela brought us a bag of Heirloom cherry tomatoes that one of her customers from the bakery brought her!  It was an Ocean Grove food chain lol.  Turns out Angela is not really fond of tomatoes, there’s something about the consistency that she doesn’t like – all the better for me who LOVES tomatoes, JERSEY TOMATOES and even better FREE JERSEY HEIRLOOM TOMATOES.

I popped a few in my mouth, God they were like candy and there were a lot.  I started to think about what I could make with them.  This morning I saw just how many tomatoes there were and decided to leave some on Michael’ s porch (hope he found them when he got home tonight) and left some watermelon on Angela’s porch – the food chain continues….

Tonight I made Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel Sauce with linguine, well actually half linguine and half whole grain spaghetti.  It was so good, I plan to make it again soon.

Fennel

Fennel

1 Fennel bulb cut up

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, half of them halved ( I gave away too many, so I chopped up half of medium tomato)

1/4 cup white wine

3 TBS olive oil

5 sprigs of Thyme (I didn’t have any, so I used dried thyme leaves )

pinch of sugar* (I didn’t use any, the tomatoes were sweet enough)

Coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, toss together the fennel, tomatoes, wine, oil and thyme.  Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, stirring occasionally until fennel softens and pan juices thicken, 35-40 minutes, maybe less.

I reserved a full cup of the pasta water and used it to create the sauce.  I didn’t have a lot of pan juices and some of it burned along the edges of the pan.

Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food – November 2009

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