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COOKING | Magazine

Recipes: Three ways to make the most of tomato season

Use those garden and farmers' market tomatoes in shakshuka, pasta with pistachios, or in this slow-roasted dish.

Shakshuka with grape tomatoes.
Shakshuka with grape tomatoes.Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

At Milk Street, we go to great lengths to pump up the flavor of typically bland supermarket tomatoes. In summer, those same techniques work even better with the tomatoes from gardens and farmers’ markets. We add grape tomatoes in two steps during cooking for different textures in an Israeli shakshuka spiced with harissa, the Middle Eastern pepper condiment. Mint and lemon zest brighten a Sicilian tomato sauce for linguine, which gets topped with rich pistachios. And tomato paste and white balsamic vinegar highlight the sweetness and acidity of these slow-roasted tomatoes that can accent everything from soups and sauces to pastas and polentas.

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Shakshuka With Grape Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

Because harissas vary in spice from brand to brand, taste yours beforehand to determine how much to add. To serve, simply bring the skillet to the table. Warm pita bread is an ideal accompaniment for shakshuka.

Take care not to overcook the eggs: The goal is for the whites to be set but the yolks to remain slightly runny. Timing may vary slightly depending on your stove-top and skillet, so use the suggested times only as a guideline.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

3 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

¼ to 1/3 cup harissa

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (divided use)

6 large eggs

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, onion, and jalapeños, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in ¾ cup water and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers and onion have softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

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Stir in the harissa and half of the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until thickened and a spatula leaves a trail when drawn through, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir the remaining tomatoes into the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Reduce to medium-low heat, then use the back of a large spoon to make 6 evenly spaced indentations in the tomatoes and sauce, each about 2 inches in diameter. Crack 1 egg into each well, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating the skillet halfway through for even cooking. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with feta and parsley, then drizzle with additional oil.

Pasta with pistachios, tomatoes, and mint.
Pasta with pistachios, tomatoes, and mint.Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Pasta With Pistachios, Tomatoes, and Mint

Makes 4 servings

Sicily is known for its pistachios, so it’s no surprise that the colorful, subtly sweet nuts feature heavily in the region’s desserts and savory dishes. This recipe is our take on a pistachio- and tomato-dressed pasta that we tasted in Siracusa. With lemon zest and mint as accent ingredients, the flavors are fresh and bright.

Just about any variety of pasta works well, but we particularly like long strands, such as linguine and spaghetti. And, opt for roasted instead of raw pistachios, as they don’t require toasting before chopping. Either salted or unsalted works well.

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12 ounces pasta (see headnote)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup shelled roasted pistachios, finely chopped, divided

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

Grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, to serve

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, combine the oil and tomatoes. Cook, stirring only once or twice, until the tomatoes have softened and the oil has taken on a reddish hue, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in half the pistachios, 1½ cups of the reserved cooking water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly reduced and the tomatoes are completely softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta and lemon zest, then cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed most of the liquid but is still quite saucy, 2 to 4 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the mint, then taste and season with salt and pepper. If the pasta is dry, add more cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a serving bowl, then sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and drizzle with additional oil. Serve with grated cheese.

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Slow-roasted tomatoes.
Slow-roasted tomatoes. Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Makes about 32 halves

Slow-roasted tomatoes are a powerful pantry staple; add them to soups, sauces, pasta, polenta, sandwiches, and salads. Medium plum tomatoes, roughly 4 ounces each, work best. If your tomatoes are smaller, start checking them after three hours in the oven.

Don’t combine the olive oil with the vinegar and tomato paste — the mixture won’t adhere to the tomatoes and will burn.

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

¼ cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 pounds plum tomatoes (about 16 medium), halved lengthwise

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on the prepared sheet. Drizzle evenly with the oil.

Roast until the tomatoes are shriveled, caramelized, and lightly charred at the edges, about 3½ hours, rotating the pan halfway through. Serve immediately or let cool, then transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.