We planted a new Heirloom variety of tomatoes this year: Hillbilly Tomatoes. I knew little of this new fruit, but after pouring over each page in the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog my mother so generously lent me, I spotted the Hillbilly. A true tomato lover, I found myself drooling over the brilliant marbled red and yellow colors, and its intricate pink streaks showcasing perfect and succulent linings when sliced open. Granted, I bought the seeds with no taste to judge on, but the words “rich, sweet flavor” sold me. The day the package came, both my husband and I opened the envelope like excited children on Christmas morning.
Through four months of devoted time, love and care it is finally time to see the beauties in full bloom. As though screaming, “Eat me! Love me! Devour me!” the Hillbillies have proven to be an absolute tomato gem. We also planted a cherry heirloom variety, the Riesentraube, which are perfect for salads and sneakily popping in your mouth, freshly plucked from the vines teeming with these little red fruits of heaven. However, the Hillbillies are my favorites: these 2lb fruits, when sliced generously thick, are excellent for a simple cucumber and tomato sandwich. They’re meaty, sweet, and have that perfect sharp taste that a tomato should have.
Tonight we made a delicious Spaghetti Sauce, recipe provided by my sweet niece, Chanel, in England. I have never made a Spaghetti sauce before, but am always up for a new culinary adventure. If the recipe seems too difficult, with too many ingredients, and specific timing requirements, I have to admit: my sense of adventure gets dulled and I end up disinterested in the recipe the moment I begin. I like simple, unpretentious recipes. Chanel gave me just this, and the outcome tasted like a gourmet dish served in a five star Italian restaurant. And trust me: I am no culinary expert.
Here is the recipe:
- Grab a handful of tomatoes per person, or as many as possible (I used both the Hillbillies and Riesentraubes)
- Score a cross on the bottom of each tomato
- Crush a few cloves of garlic (I used 7 ripe from the garden because I am a bona fide garlic fiend)
- Season generously with salt and pepper
- 1 T sugar
- A “glug” of olive oil
- A handful of fresh sprigs of basil
- 1 onion
- ½ bell pepper
- ¼ c. pine nuts
Roast all of this in the oven, 350F, for about 50 minutes. Take out, mash a little (I used a potato masher) let cool and remove skins (I like the skins, so I left them on). Pour over meat (if desired – can be used as an excellent vegetarian dish) and pasta. Voila! You’re done.