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Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuscan Tomato Stew...

When winter and life gives us lots of lemons around Christmas time and into and early months of the year, we make lots of things; lemonade, limoncello, lemon curd….I could go on.
Well, much like that, when my aunt and uncle’s tomato bush offers up prolific bounties of cherry tomatoes, I make lots of things, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato-grapefruit chutney, and this; Tuscan Tomato stew.
This dish is rustic, earthy, and simple. Few ingredients, albeit really good ones, make this a fast weeknight, or weekend dinner. With a short glass of a spritzy Orangina (my favorite of all time), it just might make you think you are sitting somewhere in Tuscany at a table in a small village…ok, it did for me anyway.
This dish is rich, yet hearty and light all at the same time. This dish meets all needs…fantastic as a vegetarian dish, with a toasted and crunchy gluten free bread like Glutino  (one of the best brands out there)…to sop the ‘stewey-sauce”. This is equally as fabulous topped with a piece of grilled pork, chicken or a mild white fish. Here is how it’s done.
  • 1.5 to 2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 to 1.5 cups of mixed, pitted olives (get them at the self-serve olive bar if your store has one, get ones without pits, and buy a variety. The ones packed in oil are great, as the oils add to the flavor of the dish).
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped herbs (use what you have and what you love. I used sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano).
  • Salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add all the ingredients except the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. If your olives did not have oil, add 2 tbs of olive oil to the pan. Cover and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften enough when pressed with a fork gently, they burst and smash. Smash all the tomatoes with the back of a fork. Lower the heat to medium and simmer. Simmer until the liquid begins to cook down and thicken some, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, add herbs, and serve.

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