'Food Guys' Greg and Jon dig into raw and cooked summer tomatoes. Greg suggests that you gather a variety of tomatoes -- and your tomato-loving friends -- cut them (the tomatoes) into wedges, label them, and evaluate which varieties are acidic, sweet, or just "wow."
Pulpy varieties, like Roma, are good for cooking, especially for pasta sauces. Here are three types of tomato sauce Greg prepares:
Blanch in-season Roma tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds, to loosen their skin. Remove the skin and cut them in half lengthwise. Place in a large baking skillet with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Put into a 225 degree F oven for 2.5 hours. "They develop the most wonderful flavor while still maintaining their structure," Greg explains. Add parsley and basil and baste the tomatoes with the oil in the pan, then return the skillet to the oven for thirty minutes. Serve atop cooked, drained, hot pasta. You can make big batches and freeze in portion-sized bags.
Marcella Hazan, the Italian American "doyen" of Italian cooking, used just four ingredients to make her Northern Italian tomato sauce: tomatoes (either canned without sugar or spices, or fresh, blanched and peeled), butter, a small onion and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to crush the tomatoes, for 45 minutes. Discard the onion and serve over hot pasta with parmesan cheese and black pepper.
For a stuffed tomato side-dish: cut pulpy, non-watery beefsteak tomatoes in half horizontally. "I love Brandywine tomatoes, but they're too watery to use for cooking," says Greg. Squeeze them gently to get rid of some seeds and liquid. Mix together fresh breadcrumbs, salt, chopped basil and parsley, olive oil and garlic. Stuff the stuffing mixture into the tomato halves and sprinkle them with grated parmesan cheese. Cook for 20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.