A local, fresh vegetable calendar from the Community Alliance for Family Farmers confirmed what we all know too well. It's too long before tomatoes become available at our farmers' market. The peak season for all the different varieties is months away. Fortunately, Happy Boy Farms has an alternative. I used their sun-dried organic heirloom tomatoes with pasta to tide me over. It takes about one pound of tomatoes to make one ounce of dried tomatoes so the flavor is wonderfully intense.
Stay tuned for another tomato alternative next week.
- 1-1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (kitchen scissors work well to cut the tomatoes into thin strips)
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Linguine (or another pasta shape of your choice) for four
Barely cover the julienned tomatoes with boiling water for five minutes in a small bowl to soften them. Save the "tomato" water. In another small bowl, toss the tomatoes with a little olive oil. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the garlic, pine nuts and red chili flakes until fragrant and the nuts are slightly browned. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté a few more minutes. Add some of the tomato water or a little white wine. Add the olives, optional capers and most of the parsley. Toss until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Then drain and toss it into the skillet with the sauce.
Serve garnished with the remaining parsley. A little crumbled feta tastes great on this dish.