Tomatoes and a recipe

It takes a while for tomatoes to start producing here. Unless you have a greenhouse or a place to start them early, the ground isn't really ready for planting until late May or even June. This year our tomatoes began to ripen a little earlier than last year but it was still August. Once they begin, though, stand back and get ready to harvest. 

I planted five plants this year in our raised beds - two regular-sized varieties (the inevitable 'Early Girl' and 'Big Boy') and three smaller ones ('Sungold', 'Grape' and 'Patio'). The smaller varieties have performed the best and 'Sungold' is our favorite. 'Early Girl' is producing nicely but for some reason, only grew to about two feet and refuses to get higher. 'Big Boy' is a huge bush with lots of fruit but very slow to reipen.

I like to grow tomatoes but I am not really a big fan of eating them. Michael loves them and says he could live off tomato sandwiches. As a child, I never ate tomatoes and now only like them in salads. That is, until I tried the following recipe. This is my favorite way of eating tomatoes  (I don't really care for pasta either but I do like a small amount of angel hair spaghetti with this dish.) 

Mediterranean Pasta with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

2 lbs plum or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (omit if you don't like it spicy)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. pasta
Parmesan cheese

Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with foil. Rub the foil with olive oil or with cooking spray.
Place the tomato halves, cut side up, in the pan.
Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic and seasonings. Spoon over the tomatoes.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil.

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and browned on top.

Prepare pasta. Place half of the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl and toss.
Add the pasta and toss in the remaining tomatoes.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Sounds like a simple yet tasty way to eat some of that summer bounty.

  2. Thanks for the recipe, Phillip. I'll have to give it a try sometime. Maybe this weekend if I can get my hands on some cherry maters from the farmers market :)

  3. I'm another person who likes to grow tomatoes, but isn't as into eating them. that said, this recipe sounds amazing. I'll have to get my family on board and try it soon.

  4. I roast Roma tomatoes somwhat like this and freeze them in plastic bags for soup and bruscetta in the winter. They are so yummy, they would make a great pasta topping.

  5. Philip, I can taste that recipe! it is similar to a dish I have eaten in a restaurant and loved. Thanks! The fact is, I don't like most store-bought tomatoes. Homegrown ones have far superior flavor. We have just a few garden tomatoes left. We have recently pulled most of the tomato plants from the garden, as they were suffering from all the ravages of summer and were no longer producing. I will miss them.

  6. Your recipe looks good, but I'm with Michael.
    This is how I eat a tomato: I walk outside and locate a tomato vine. Rub the leafs and inhale the aroma. Zero in on a ripe tomato. Release from vine. Take a bite. Repeat.
    I will probably try it your way too :-)

  7. Mmmm, delish! I've been making salsa with mine, and spaghetti sauce made with bacon instead of ground beef.

  8. Hi Phillip, Your garden is lovely. I'm trying to convince my husband into moving to the PNW. How do you like it so far? I love cooler weather (I'm in Georgia, near Atlanta). The gardening is obviously fantastic but you always have a beautiful garden no matter where you are, lol. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Anne, I love it here and the weather is the best part. I like so many other things. It is so different from the South.


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