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Smoked Tomato Soup

Smoked Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is great on a cold winter’s day, but it can be rather boring. Add some chopped basil, crisp croutons, or, as I did this week, I served it with a pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich that I made on some homemade olive sourdough bread made with Castelvertrano olives from Sicily. Another way to elevate this iconic soup is by smoking the tomatoes first. I highly recommend the Cameron’s stovetop smoker for this task, it is an amazing inexpensive kitchen tool that works great for smoking foods from vegetables and salmon fillets to hanger steak and pork tenderloin.

Pappardelle Pasta

Pappardelle with Pesto

Pappardelle is a wide noodle that creates a very rustic looking pasta dish. The sheer volume of pasta in each fork full makes pappardelle one of my favorite pastas to eat. Pesto is a perfect match for flat pasta since it will stick to anything, while a nice thin cream sauce would run right off. When tomatoes are oven-roasted, the flavors become concentrated and very intense.

Farro Salad

Italian Farro Salad

Farro is an ancient whole-grain wheat and is terrific in salads or served as a side in place of rice. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture which makes it a perfect foundation for tomatoes (roasted or sun-dried), fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. This salad was always a big hit on our Foodie trips to Tuscany.