Tomatoes taste like summer, don’t they?
One of my favorite things to do when I’m at the vacation home (aka Dad’s house in the Napa Valley) is to pop a few cherry tomatoes in my mouth, still warm from the sun. They taste like sunshine.
I feel like for the first time in years, I’ve really taken advantage of tomato season. I realized when I was writing my profile for SF Food Swappers that all but one of the savory recipes I’d written for the blog included tomatoes: Caprese Jam, Cornmeal Pizza, Voodles, Tomato Basil Sloppy Joes, Massaged Kale Salad. Apparently, I’m a little obsessed.
The tough thing about tomatoes is the fact that they can turn ripe so quickly. So many of us keep tomatoes in the fridge until we’re ready to use them. Right?
My mother loved the Food Network Show Good Eats with Alton Brown (I can’t stand him). Several years ago, she saw an episode where he explained why you shouldn’t keep tomatoes in the fridge – it changes the taste and texture of the fruit.
I found the episode – boy is it dated! He talks bout putting tomatoes in the fridge at minute 6:50. If you’re like he and can’t stand him, here’s an article from the Kitchn that says it in a few sentences.
While I have a strong distaste for Alton Brown, he taught my mom (who taught me) a valuable kitchen lesson. I always keep tomatoes on the counter until they’re on the verge of being too ripe – then if I can’t cook them immediately I’ll transfer them to the fridge.
Which is how I ended up making this recipe. My tomatoes got so ripe that I had to move them to the fridge in order for them not to spoil (sorry mom!). When I opened my fridge today, I realized that it was probably the last possible day that they were viable. I decided to make another version of my boozy heirloom tomato sauce, this time making it cheezy with nutritional yeast. It turned out yummy.
Thankfully, since the tomatoes sat so long on the counter, they were still very flavorful despite having lived in the fridge for a little while (and since I made sauce, the texture wasn’t an issue).
I don’t specify the amount of pasta to use, because I think that’s a personal choice – people are particular about their sauce-to-pasta ratio. Personally, I like mine pretty saucy. I like to use the twirly shape of brown rice pasta (I know it’s called fusilli, but I like to say twirly better).
The end of tomato season is in sight, which is a bit sad. But I think I lived it to its fullest.
Cheezy Boozy Heirloom Tomato Pasta
Print, email, or text the recipe here.
2″ leek, chopped (or 1/4 cup onions sliced into half moons)
2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped (I used one red and one yellow)
2 tablespoons vodka*, white wine, or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1.5 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
dash of salt
dash of cayenne pepper (optional, see note)
Start the water for the pasta, and cook according to instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, sauté the leek or onion in olive oil in a large skillet until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook until reduced into a thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be done when the pasta is done. Add the pasta directly to the sauce pan, toss to coat, and serve.
*I used the chili-infused vodka I got at the food swap. Since you most likely don’t have chili-infused vodka sitting in your freezer, you can add a dash or two of cayenne pepper or add some red pepper flakes to give the sauce some spice.