When you’re having a tomato party on your kitchen counters, turn up the heat and bring the celebration to your oven.
Slow. Roasted. Tomatoes.
Three words that equal magnificence. And a guaranteed party for your plated pasta, toast, or pesto.
Giving tomatoes a good roast enriches their sweetness and draws out an intensity of flavor that makes them almost feel rich. I love them with a drizzle of olive oil on a piece of crusty bread. I also love them with pesto, again for that sweetness I mentioned, which they’ll bring to the dish.
August is a beautiful time, given that you can reap bounties of both tomatoes and basil. Feel free to throw some sauteed zucchini on top of this dish too, or any other harvest you might find from your garden or in your farmer’s market basket. Really though, this dish doesn’t need much else, except maybe a cool glass of white wine and a table al fresco. Enjoy!
- For the tomatoes:
- 5 med.-lg. tomatoes, sliced into large chunks
- 3 lg. cloves garlic, cut into quarters
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 stems of fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar, splash
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- For the pesto and rice:
- 2 cups short grain brown rice
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 2 packed cups of basil
- 2/3 cup walnuts, divided
- 1/2 scant cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top. (You may need two baking sheets if your pan is not large enough.)
- Scatter tomatoes on top. Strip herbs and scatter on top. Toss with olive oil and splash of balsamic. Spread tomatoes so that they're in a single layer with some space between each chunk. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, to season.
- Bake for 75-90 minutes, gently stirring at the 45 & 60 minute mark. Meanwhile, begin to prepare the remainder of the dish.
- Place rice in a pot with four cups of water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is fluffy and tender.
- In a food processor, process garlic. Add basil, 1/3 cup of walnuts, nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. salt and oil. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- When rice and tomatoes are finished cooking, divide rice among four bowls. Add a generous spoonful of pesto to each bowl and toss to coat. Scatter tomatoes on top. Sprinkle remaining walnuts over the rice, and serve.
You may wish to toast the walnut topping over dry-heat. Simply heat a skillet, and add walnuts. Stir and toast until walnuts are golden brown. Remove from pan.