Tomatoes continue to surprise us.
Just when we think we’ve seen every variety out there, another wild heirloom pops up on a table at our local farmer’s market. This year alone we’ve gone ga-ga for striped Green Zebras, supersweet Yellow Sun Golds and elegant Black Cherry tomatoes.
One simple, humble cup of ripe, raw tomatoes is a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. And because they are low in calories, high in fiber and have a relatively high water content they are a filling food, i.e. they can aid in weight loss or maintenance.
What really has us excited though are the recent studies showing that Lycopene—an antioxidant 10 times more potent than vitamin E that is present in red tomatoes and a key ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet—has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease risk by improving the function of blood vessels. Lycopene has also been linked to helping with some cancers.
Turning up the heat significantly boosts the absorption of Lycopene and wonderfully, if you pair it with olive oil, it becomes even more absorbable by the body.
To take advantage of the tomatoes’ total nutritional largess, we are making a tomato pasta that gently cooks tomatoes in the heat of the pasta. The technique is so simple that it barely needs a recipe. Make it once and you won’t ever need to consult a tomato pasta recipe again.
- Set a pot of regular or brown rice pasta* to cook.
- While the pasta is cooking, thinly slice a red onion, mince a clove or two of garlic, halve (if cherry) or chop (if full-size) 2 pounds tomatoes and let everything mingle in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper, a huge handful of chopped basil and a splash of red wine and balsamic vinegar.
- Strain the pasta, then immediately dump it over the tomato mixture. Let everything steam for a few minutes, then toss thoroughly and let sit about 15 minutes longer before serving.
We particularly like Tinkyada stone ground brown rice pasta. It tastes and has the texture of regular pasta, is wheat- and gluten-free and is also easily available. Alternatively, use the seasoned tomatoes over a bowl of roasted or sauteed vegetables.