Pasta with tomatoes and hazelnuts.
Last summer, Gourmet published a fantastic tomato recipe that called for baking sliced garden tomatoes with a topping of breadcrumbs and hazelnuts. It was delicious.
We're about as far from summer as you can get right now. It's freezing cold prairie winter and snow blows across the yard and the street so you can't tell if it's coming from the sky or off the trees. I am grateful that we are not in D.C. or New York tonight, and I am grateful that I had two pounds of cherry tomatoes sitting on my countertop courtesy of modern food shipping systems.
Not seasonal, not remotely local: I couldn't care less at the moment. I used the cherry tomatoes to make last summer's Gourmet recipe, then served them over whole-wheat farfalle instead of as a side dish. Scrumptious.
Cherry tomato and hazelnut sauce for pasta
One cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed, coarsely chopped
Two cups fresh breadcrumbs
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
Two pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried oregano
Preheat oven to 350. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and toast them until light golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 450.
While the breadcrumbs are toasting, spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread the halved tomatoes in it. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.
Melt the butter and olive oil together in a skillet. Add the toasted breadcrumbs and the hazelnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until they are golden and fragrant. Spoon them atop the tomatoes. Bake until tomatoes are bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. Serve over pasta, and dream of warmer days ahead.