Put these tomatoes to use in these pasta, salad and salsa recipes

We gave up the tomatoes.

Before I’m hit by a hurricane of angry emails filled with nasty and not very Midwestern comments, let me clarify.

We gave up growing tomatoes. And, to be honest, it makes me very sad.

For decades, the other Michael and I were tomato farmers. Our garden was loaded with tomato plant after tomato plant.

As a general rule, we stuck to the standard varieties – Roma was a favorite, as was San Marzano. On occasion, we would be seduced by some of the more exotic (and heirloom) strains.

Over the years we have planted everything from zebra green to cherokee purple to black krim. It was a veritable rainbow of vegetables – uh, I mean fruit – which we cared for like our own children.

We staked them to provide support as they grew. We cried with joy when we saw the first flower.

This cry turned into cries of joy when these flowers began to swell into real tomatoes. At that point, we started considering liter after liter of tomato sauce and fresh BLT sandwiches.

And then, like children, our tomatoes turned against us.

At some point during the summer – usually around mid-July – our adorable babies turned into angry teenagers. Rapid growth spikes have been replaced by leaf wilt and blossom end rot. It was as if every plant was saying to my face, “I will hate you as long as I live!” Our hopes for a tomato-filled future have been dashed.

The heartache has just grown too much, and so a few years ago the other Michael said we were done.

Tomatoes would no longer break our hearts. Valuable garden space that had once nurtured the so-called “candy apples” was now relegated to flowers.

But the love of tomatoes isn’t so easily buried under a layer of mulch and black-eyed Susans. Luckily, the vendors at the Farmer’s Market are more than willing to help us. Much better tomato growers than us are producing row after row of beautiful fruit, each more beautiful than the next.

The bottom line is that you can have your BLT and eat it too. All you need is the imagination to come up with things to do with the tomatoes that others have grown.

And that’s where I come in. Below, you’ll find recipes that meet all your tomato needs.

From simple dishes to (slightly) more complicated jams, I can help you out. Give them a try and in the process heal your broken heart knowing that this tomato loves you no matter what it may say in the heat of the moment.

Roasted cherry tomatoes and pasta (or anything, really)

This New York Times recipe is a revelation.

I must admit I was skeptical when I launched it. There were simply too few ingredients and too few steps for it to actually produce anything I could possibly like.

I was wrong. Roasting cherry tomatoes increases their sweetness, which means you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients for this dish to be delicious.

That said, I can imagine slicing a sausage into a ring to go with those tomatoes could be divine and make for a heartier meal. Until then, I’ll have to go with this simple dish as it is.


  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ⅓ cup olive oil, plus 2-3 tbsp for tossing
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • ¼ cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ pound pasta (note: see other suggestions for these tomatoes at the end of this recipe)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the halved cherry tomatoes with ⅓ cup olive oil. Stir to coat. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Toss with grated cheese and breadcrumbs and toss to combine.

Scrape the tomatoes onto your prepared pan – try to keep the cut sides up – in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. When cooked al dente, drain the pasta and toss with your roasted tomatoes. Stir in the remaining olive oil and season with additional cheese if desired.

For 2 to 4 people

Caprese Salad

If you have some good heirloom tomatoes, this recipe is perfect for you. It doesn’t get much easier. This salad is literally just a slice of fresh tomato, a slice of fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. That’s it. What makes it even better is that it is one of the most beautiful salads you will ever make in your life. This makes it the perfect first dish for your next summer dinner party.

To note: You can also serve this toast if you want to make it a bit more hearty.


  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ​​into ¼-inch-thick discs
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced ​​¼ inch thick (here’s a great place to vary the color using a red tomato and a yellow tomato)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a circular pattern, alternate slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella on a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle basil leaves on top and serve.

For a twist, you can also try drizzling some balsamic vinegar over the salad before serving.

For 4 people.

Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Salsa

This recipe is taken from “The Great Salsa Book” by Mark Miller. It’s a good salsa, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The chipotles wrapped in adobo sauce give it a wonderfully smoky heat that I look for in a dip. But what makes it different from countless other salsas I’ve tried is the red wine vinegar. It gives the salsa a slightly sour taste that complements the sweetness of the tomatoes beautifully.

The flavor is intensified by roasting the tomatoes in the grill before adding them to the other ingredients. Roasting tomatoes is easy, but be sure to watch them carefully so they don’t overcook.

To note: You can use any variety of tomatoes for this recipe. However, Roma or San Marzano work better because they contain less moisture, resulting in a less watery salsa. However, use any tomato you have plenty of.


  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, stems removed, seeded and halved vertically
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

First roast the tomatoes and garlic. Preheat grill. While the grill is heating, spread the prepared Roma tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Roast until the skins of the tomatoes start to blacken (about 10 minutes). Remove from the grill and, when cool enough to touch, remove the skins. The tomato skins should come off easily. To peel garlic, simply squeeze the cloves at the base until the skin splits open and can be removed easily. Put aside.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put the cooked onion, half of the roasted tomatoes and all the garlic in the food processor and pulse until chopped (do not over mix. Chunks of tomato and onion should still be visible) . Add cilantro and chipotles and pulse to combine.

Chop the remaining tomatoes and stir them into the salsa along with the vinegar, salt and sugar.

Serve with tortilla chips.

To note: The salsa can be eaten immediately, but it will taste better a few hours (and even better a few days) after you finish making it. This allows time for the flavors to marry.