Posts Tagged ‘Sun-Dried Tomatoes’

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

As much as I love to dabble in the kitchen all day long, I admit that there are days when our family is busy or I just don’t feel like dedicating  that much time to dinner.  The problem is, I don’t like to fall back on some overly-processed meal-in-a-box as the alternative.  Sound familiar?  I’ve found that it’s helpful to have a few quick, delicious dishes up my sleeve, and in talking with friends and family I’ve come to realize that I need to blog more about those types of meals.  If you need a little inspiration, I hope you find it in a few of the coming recipes for quick meals that I’ll be writing about throughout the winter.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

This orecchiette with sausage, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes, takes barely any time at all.  Maybe 30 minutes to get it on the table, if even.  I love to load a meal up with a healthy vegetable– the broccoli (or broccoli rabe, if you prefer) is just lovely in this dish.  Pairing it with sweet italian sausage is always a good decision.  Make sure to buy a good sweet italian sausage– we get ours locally and the spices are amazing!  And remember all of those sun-dried tomatoes I’ve been making?  The ones I put in a jar of olive oil are absolutely sublime in here.  If you didn’t dedicate the time to preparing your own, you can always buy a jar at your local market.  I like to kick this dish up with a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes and some freshly grated parmesan.  So, even if you’re pressed for time, I hope you can sit down and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.  Enjoy!

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

(serves 4)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets (around 4 1/2 cups)

1/2 pound dried orecchiette

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or substitute part of it with the olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes, if you can spare any)

1/3  cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1/3 cup (or more) parmesan cheese, for garnish

red pepper flakes, for garnish

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sweet italian sausage.  Drain grease.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta.  To the skillet add the olive oil (if you can spare any from the sun-dried tomatoes, the flavor is incredible), garlic, and broccoli and cook until the broccoli is tender, but not mushy– about 5 minutes.  When the pasta is al dente (follow the cooking instructions), reserve a bit of the water, and drain the rest.  Add the hot pasta to the pan of sausage and broccoli.  Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes.  If more moisture is needed, either loosen with more olive oil, or a bit of pasta water.  Salt and pepper, as needed.  This is big– don’t forget the salt!  Top with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy!

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Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme | Relishing It

Alright, I’m using “sun-dried” very loosely here, as these little beauties are not…well…sun-dried at all.  I just couldn’t bring myself to call these “sitting on a counter in a dehydrator” tomatoes.  No, I like to imagine that they were patiently crafted in Italy, with tables upon tables of tomatoes laying out in the sun, as I sipped a Chianti and and read a good book.  Alas, my reality is Minnesota, and I used a food dehydrator.  Not quite as romantic, is it?  Even so, these tomatoes are fantastic, and seriously recommend you give making them a try.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme | Relishing It

I love having a nice supply of sun-dried tomatoes to get me through the winter.  Buying jarred versions at the market can be expensive, and to be honest, they’re just so simple to make.  You can use any type of tomato, though smaller ones will require less cooking time.  Roma’s are a fantastic choice– simply cut them in half or quarters.  The tomatoes take time to dehydrate– perhaps a day or more for the thicker end pieces.  I sprinkle mine with rosemary, thyme, with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper.   The flavors are wonderful!

Su-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme | Relishing It

You can snack on them as soon as they’re dried, or preserve them to use later.  As for the texture, some like them a bit chewier– I made sure mine were completely dry since I intended to preserve them.  It’s really up to you how dry you want them to be.  These tomatoes can be kept in airtight containers (plastic bags work well), vacuum sealed, or even stored in the freezer.  I also made a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and they are ridiculously delicious.  These would make fabulous gifts around the holidays if you’re looking for something homemade to share.  I hope you give these a try!

Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme | Relishing It

Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

any variety of tomatoes, sliced or halved

fresh rosemary, chopped

fresh thyme, chopped

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

To Dehydrate the Tomatoes:  Slice the tomatoes or half them, depending upon their size.   Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper.  It will take about 24 hours to dehydrate a full load, sometimes longer depending upon how thick the tomatoes are sliced.  Store in a resealable bag and use within a few weeks.  Freeze any amount you want to keep longer.

To Oven-Dry them:  Preheat oven to 200°F.  Slice tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped herbs, salt and pepper.  Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  It will generally take between 2-6 hours (possibly more) to dry the tomatoes– much will depend upon how thickly they are sliced.  Store in a resealable bag and use within a few weeks.  Freeze any amount you want to keep longer.

To make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil:  Prepare dehydrated tomatoes by dipping them in white wine vinegar (this help keep bacterial growth from occuring) and shaking off any excess.  Place in a small jar along with 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar.  Then fill the jar up with olive oil.  Make sure that all of the tomatoes are submerged.  Store in the refrigerator and try to use within 2 weeks.  If placing fresh herbs or garlic into your mix, you must use up the jar within 1 week.  The olive oil will become hard in the refrigerator, simple let sit at room temperature for a few minutes before using.  Be mindful to use clean utensils when removing the tomatoes from the jar.

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Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

I’ve mentioned here more than once that as the weather warms, I try to prepare more simple, fresh foods.  This spread is a perfect example.  I love peas.  Their slightly sweet flavor, that beautiful pop of color– they make every dish better.  When they start to become available at the local farmers markets, we eat them by the pound.  But– and here’s some real talk now– they rarely make it into a recipe.  By the time we’re done shelling them, they have been mostly eaten raw.  And if not, they’re a stand-alone side for our summer meals.  Here, I wanted to keep things simple, yet incorporate peas as the star ingredient.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

For this dish I’ve added a few simple ingredients and a different style of preparation in order to turn ordinary peas into a delicious and healthy appetizer.  Sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, mint, and a bit of anchovy really work with the subtle flavor of peas. Don’t be scared of the anchovy– it adds depth, a bit of saltiness, but doesn’t taste fishy.  Add a few other nibbles, and you’ve got yourself a meal.  Make them with your freshly shelled peas, if you have them, or just rely on a bag of frozen organic ones from the freezer.  It just takes a few minutes from start to finish to get this delicious spread on the table.

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

My favorite way to serve this spread is on a grilled baguette brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper.  It is heavenly.   And if you’re worried about the bread, no problem.  I also serve it along with other vegetables, including radishes and endive.  It’s brilliant.  As for the endive, if you’re not familiar with it, you should become so.  It’s a wonderful vegetable that is fantastic served with spreads– the shape makes it easy to fill.  It tastes great, and is a wonderful option if you are gluten-free or just trying not to consume as much wheat.  These smashed summer peas are a delicious healthy option for your 4th of July celebration (for my American friends) this weekend.   It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and over-indulge on chips, burgers, and all other sorts of less-healthy foods in the midst of celebrating.  With this on your table, you don’t have to worry about it.  Hope you enjoy!

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

Smashed Summer Pea Spread via Relishing It

The Recipe: Smashed Summer Pea Spread

10 ounces fresh or frozen organic peas (If using fresh, blanch for a minute or so.  If using frozen, just thaw)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 large sun-dried tomatoes, minced

1-2 anchovies, finely minced

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt

juice of 1/4 small lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 large mint leaves, finely minced

In a medium-sized bowl, add the peas, garlic, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, salt, olive oil, and mint.  Using a potato masher or fork, smash the ingredients together.   The final texture is up to you.  I like it to be a little bit creamy, with definite chunks of ingredients within it.  Taste and re-season, if necessary.  Serve it with endive, radishes, and grilled bread.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!



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