Pretty much nobody wants to hear about it, but fall, with its cold winds, grey mornings, and early nightfall, is here for good.
However, there is also a positive side to the changing seasons—cozy wool sweaters you can wrap yourself up in, cooler air to help you sleep well, the splendour of leaves bursting into colour, and for some, the exciting return to school.
What I like most are the fall markets. Aromas of basil, garlic, and tomatoes captivate the olfactory senses of every food lover. I enjoy walking through the market just to see, smell, and taste. Each year I leave with way too many tomatoes (I have to borrow my friend’s car to lug them all home) and get ready to cook up a storm. I can tomatoes for the winter and make tomato pies, spaghetti sauce, soup, and all kinds of other great stuff.
Last night I made Mediterranean-style penne with in-season tomatoes using a really easy recipe. An accompaniment of lemon-flavoured Greek yogurt adds a nice burst of freshness and a very pretty touch!
- 12 Italian tomatoes
- 1 large (or 3 small) white onion(s)
- 2 cloves Quebec garlic
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) capers
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) Olive oil
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) harissa paste
- ½ tbsp. (8 ml) anchovy paste
- ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) fresh basil
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
- ½ tsp. (2 ml) freshly ground pepper
- 1 pinch brown sugar
- 1½ cups (375 ml) penne rigate
- 3 tbsp. (45 ml) Oikos Plain 2% Greek Yogurt
- Zest of half a lemon
- To peel tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water (with a few ice cubes). Immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute or until skin splits. Do not leave in water for more than 3 minutes, even if skin has not split. Dunk tomatoes in bowl of ice water, then peel off skin with your fingers. Set aside.
- Mince onion, mash garlic, and lightly chop capers. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Heat oil in an aluminum saucepan over medium.
- Sweat onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
- Add chopped capers, harissa paste, and anchovy paste and mix well.
- Pour in wine, bring to a light boil, and reduce until nearly dry.
- Add tomatoes and gently simmer covered over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, coarsely chop half the oregano and half the basil.
- Crush tomatoes slightly to let their juices escape. Add chopped oregano and basil, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and sugar.
- Cover and gently simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove lid, crush tomatoes completely, and reduce, if required, uncovered until sauce holds together well and is not runny (time will depend on juice content of tomatoes).
- When sauce reaches desired consistency, chop remaining oregano and basil (leaves will turn black if chopped ahead of time), add to sauce, remove bay leaf, and set aside on very low heat to keep warm.
- Cook penne in salted boiling water according to package directions.
- In the meantime, combine Greek yogurt with lemon zest and set aside at room temperature.
- Drain pasta, top with Mediterranean-style sauce, and garnish with a spoonful of lemon-flavoured Greek yogurt. Enjoy!