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Slow Roasted Summer Dip—2nd Place Winner in 2014 Tomato Art Festival Recipe Contest!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • four large TN tomatoes, sliced thick
  • two small Vidalia or sweet onions, chopped
  • one cup chopped fennel bulb*
  • whole cloves of one head of garlic
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or other dry, aged cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Combine fennel*, onion, garlic and tomatoes in a large bowl; add olive oil and mix by hand to coat evenly.  Spread vegetables on a sheet pan and sprinkle salt and red pepper to taste.  Add some fennel fronds if you're not using them for something else.  Roast for 45-60 minutes, redistributing the vegetables occasionally, until tomtoes release their juices and onions and fennel ar caramelized.   

Once slightly cooled, puree the roasted mixture in a food processor (in batches, if necesssary).  Oil the bottom of a casserole dish, add the vegetable puree, and spread the ricotta cheese over top in a thin layer.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly.  Add the grated cheese and broil for a couple mintues, until brown.  Enjoy with pasta crisps (recipe below)!  * Fennel can be replaced with other seasonl vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini. Preparation is the same!

Fried Pasta Crisps--makes 6 dozen crackers

Ingredients:  12 lasagna pasta strips, cooking oil, Italian seasoned breadcrumbs; salt, garlic powder, paprika to taste.

Preparation:  Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; cook lasagna noodles for 5 minutes, until pliable nut not yet al dente.  Prepare a cutting board lined with paper towels.  Drain pasta and allow to dry on the cutting board.  Cut pasta into cracker-size strips.  In a shallow bowl, mix breadcrumbs with salt, garlic and paprika to taste.  Press both sides of each pasta strip in the breadcrumbs to coat.   

Bring cooking oil to medium-high heat in a heavy pot, about 1 inch deep.  Cook the pasta four to six at a time, until godlen brown.  Allow to cool on paper towel-lined plate and enjoy with the dip!

Slow Roasted Summer Dip—2nd Place Winner in 2014 Tomato Art Festival Recipe Contest!

Submitted by Amanda Saad, 2nd Place Winner in Tomato Art Festival Recipe Contest 2014 at Tomato Art Festival

This delicious, inventive “deconstructed lasagne” is sure to please any crowd.  TN tomatoes were the starring flavor with the vegetables, terrific blend of seasonings and thoughtful preparation supportively throughout.  Definitely try making the pasta crisps as well—yum!

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