You Say Tomato

Either, either, neither neither…potato potato, tomato tomato…let’s not call the whole thing off! Please, summer season, don’t call the tomatoes off just yet. Funny thing, I don’t love tomatoes. Especially canned generic tomatoes. But in the summer, I’ll eat sliced heirloom tomatoes straight up, with a little salt and pepper and perhaps a splash of balsamic vinegar. They are super acidic to me, so I need to fold them in to other ingredients to temper them. 

Recently, one of my regular clients asked if I could use a few pints of cherry tomatoes for the meals I was making for her family. She grew up on a farm in Adrian, and had just visited her folks who gave her a huge bag of them. I told her, “Challenge accepted!” and used them in all three meals I cooked that week. Below are two of those ways.


Next week I’ll share the third recipe, and show you the trick for peeling tomatoes. It’s super easy! I might even can some tomatoes this year? Hmm. Stay tuned!



Creamy burst tomato pasta


Serves 4-6




12 ounces spaghetti or pasta of choice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 12 oz. pkg. fully cooked Italian spiced chicken sausage sliced

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 large shallot or small onion, chopped

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream or half and half

1 tsp dried oregano, dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried thyme, salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

12 ounces baby spinach

2 ears grilled fresh sweet corn kernels cut off the cob 

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped



Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining pasta. Toss drained pasta with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking. Set aside.


Melt butter in olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet/saucepan. Add chicken sausage and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, just until the shallots are softened. Turn heat to low and sprinkle in flour and cook until raw flour smell is gone, 1-2 minutes (it will be thick). 

Stir in chicken broth and heavy cream followed by all seasonings. 


Bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to Low and stir in Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in spinach, corn and basil and cook 1-2 minutes, just until spinach is wilted. 


Add pasta and toss until well coated in sauce, adding a little reserved pasta water if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste.


Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.



Marinated cherry tomatoes




1/2 pound ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/4 red onion sliced thin

1/2-1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional fresh basil or herb of choice




Quarter your cherry tomatoes and slice onion into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.


Add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, freshly cracked black pepper, and fresh herbs if you have some handy. Mix to coat the tomatoes and allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Enjoy at room temperature and feel free to adjust salt and pepper to taste.


These marinated tomatoes positively fantastic as a summer salad topping that doubles as a dressing too! Pair with leafy greens, homemade croutons, and all your favorite mix-ins. It's also amazing atop toasted crostini as an appetizer and goes great on top of avocado toast. 


I used it two ways with salmon. First, I baked large pieces of salmon with sliced zucchini, red onion, and lemon in foil at 400 for 20 minutes. Once the salmon was at room temp, I simply plated it with the steamed veg and topped with the marinated tomatoes. For lunch the next day, I flaked the salmon and put it over a bed of fresh chopped romaine. Then I used the marinated tomatoes as a salad dressing. Divine!