Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Stuffed garden tomatoes / Tomates farcies du jardin

While Chéri and I don't have the luck of having a garden at the minute (admittedly quite rare for a second story appartement), our generous country-living friends have kept us in fresh produce from their vegetable patch all throughout summer.

The most recent basketful contained some enormous corgettes that I've chopped up and frozen, as well as some tasty little peppers that Chéri and I roasted and chopped into fresh pasta with a bit of chorizo, and last but not least some small but sweet and juicy melons. 

The best surprises, however, were definitely the huge garden tomatoes. One of the French dishes I love the most are stuffed tomatoes, not stuffed with rice as is often the English tradition, but with sausagemeat. Slow cooking in the oven means that the meat and tomatoes become tender and deliciously salty and this is a dish that can be enjoyed all year round. Try these stuffed tomatoes with a salad in summer and with rice in winter. 

To make room for the sausagemeat, I needed to scoop out the majority of the tomato flesh and seeds. This often ends up in the bin but I don't like wasting what can be used up, especially as these were some amazing tomatoes. 

After hesitating over what to do with my leftovers, I decided to make my own tasty pasta sauce, much fresher and cheaper than supermarket bought ones. 

Pop all of the tomato flesh and seeds into a large pan and add salt and pepper as well as a bit of water. Mix well to get rid of any large lumps and leave to simmer for at least 1 hour on a low heat. Stir from time to time so the mixture doesn't stick to the pan.

Once the liquid has reduced (as you can see by looking at the level of the mixture on the side of the pan), adjust the seasoning and leave to cool. 

The result is a sweet and tasty pasta sauce that you can then spice up with whatever takes your fancy: fresh basil, parmesan, garlic, chillies. 

However, as there are no additives in the sauce you will need to eat it up within the week. A great excuse to make yourself a big bowl of pasta!

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