Inspiration for this week’s cherry tomatoes from my Whitton Farms CSA actually came from Los Angeles. I arrived home recently to a box and inside were two HUGE elephant garlics from Frieda’s, a distributor in California which supplies specialty produce locally to Schnucks. The garlic is a featured product of the month at the supermarkets. Take a look at this:
Actually, the impressive garlic isn’t garlic at all, but a type of leek. Although you’d expect something this size to be big and bold on garlic flavor, the taste of elephant garlic is milder and sweeter than regular garlic, according to Frieda’s spoke person Hazel Kelly.
Kelly is absolutely right. My husband Tony roasted several cloves on the grill, and they were delicious used as a spread on French bread. I also did a little Internet searching, combined some recipes I found, and came up with an easy spin on tomato sauce. The elephant garlic and the naturally sweet taste of the cherry tomatoes worked together perfectly. Even better: the tomatoes just pop open when roasted, so you don’t have to spend time slicing them in half.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Elephant Garlic Pasta Sauce
Three to four servings
3 cups cherry tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of minced elephant garlic
One-half teaspoon of red chili flakes (or a little less depending on taste)
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided in half
One-half cup chopped onions
8-ounce package of sliced mushrooms
One-half cup cooking wine
1 8-oz. can of Hunts tomato, basil, and oregano tomato sauce
Fresh basil leaves
A bag of penne
Preheat to oven to 450 degrees.
Toss tomatoes, garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt and then spread out in a baking dish. Bake in the oven about 15 minutes until they pop open.
While tomatoes are roasting, heat remaining oil over medium heat and sauté onions and mushrooms. When they are ready, deglaze the pan with wine.
Add roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. Toss well and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook pasta in boiling salted water. Drain.
Toss tomato sauce with fresh basil, spoon over pasta, and garnish with Parmesan to taste.
Don’t forget about that elephant garlic spread and bread!