The last few weeks of warm, humid weather have worked miracles with my tomatoes. Late as it is, they’re ripening like crazy, turning red almost before our eyes. In fact, we’ve been watching my biggest Brandywine (the biggest I’ve ever grown in this cool, damp climate) ripen and it is definitely redder each afternoon than in the morning. Our cherry tomatoes are coming in by the handful, and though many of the ungrafted plants are showing signs of late blight, the grafted ones are still statuesque and fruitful. Check out the picture below of a pair of Log House Plants ‘Big Beef’ tomatoes and guess which one is grafted? Both were planted the same day from gallon pots and though I’d be thrilled anytime with the results on the “little” ungrafted one, the strapping, buxom grafted one is just stupendous.
These late tomatoes are utterly delicious, adding a delightful tart-sweet tang to salads and stir fries. One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in this super fast, exceptionally tasty recipe:
Fresh Pasta With Fresh Tomato Sauce
8 ounces fresh fettucini or noodles
2 teaspoons virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and palest green parts only)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, stemmed
2 cups diced, fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil, stemmed and shredded
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup shredded Asiago or Romano cheese
Cook pasta as directed on package. While pasta water is heating, combine oil, garlic, and fennel in a wide, shallow pan over medium heat and cook to the fragrance point (about one minute). Add leeks, half the salt, and the oregano and cook until tender-crisp (5-6 minutes). Add diced tomatoes, cover pan and bring to a simmer. Cook pasta as directed, drain and serve with hot sauce, garnished with remaining salt, basil, cherry tomatoes, and cheese. Serves at least one, up to 4.