I feel like I’ve been away from this blog for a long time and it’s nice to be back.
I think I might have over-egged the custard when I said at the end of my last post that my local library had reopened with a “stunning array of cookbooks”.
On closer inspection the bulk seems to be by new celebrity chefs such as Kirsty Allsop and Fearne Cotton (seriously!!!) and the old guard – Nigella, Mary, James, Jamie, Rick etc. But hidden amongst these largely style-over-content tomes there are a few more interesting books that I’ve never seen before. One called ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ seemed to speak to my rebellious, carb-loving self and this recipe, which promised to use up some of the green tomatoes currently refusing to ripen in my greenhouse, caught my eye.
It’s a good recipe that takes just as long to prepare as it does to cook a pan of spaghetti (about 10 minutes). So it’s perfect if you’re short of time on a midweek evening.
It’s not dissimilar to a regular herby pesto with the acidity of the green tomatoes taking the place of the usual lemon. It’s not a dish that’s going to blow you away with its complex flavours but the result is a perfectly tasty bowl of pasta that will make you feel virtuous and happy that those green tomatoes haven’t gone to waste.
Below it is the only other green tomato recipe I know – a chutney by good old Delia. It is wonderful (one of the best chutneys I’ve ever tasted) but in contrast with the pasta recipe it takes a great deal of time and effort to make and needs to mature for at least a year (preferably longer) before it’s at its very best. Not a great one then for the impatient. It’s sometimes difficult to see the advantages in putting the effort in now if the rewards are not to be enjoyed for such a long time.
Pasta with green tomatoes and fresh herbs
Adapted from ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ – Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall
Serves 2 greedy people or 4 normal ones
- 6 medium green tomatoes
- A generous handful of mint
- A generous handful of basil
- A generous handful of parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Half a pack of spaghetti or linguine (250g)
- 50-100g of ricotta (I think 50g between two is more than enough)
- A light olive oil (not extra virgin) – between 50 – 125 ml (the original recipe uses the full 125ml but I think this is too much personally)
Roughly chop the tomatoes, mint, basil and parsley and place in a food processer with the olive oil and crushed garlic. Pulse for a few seconds until you have a chunky mixture.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water until done to your liking. Purists would say it should be al dente but I prefer it a little more cooked than that. Drain but reserve a ladle full of the salty cooking water for the sauce.
Return the pasta to the pan over a low heat and add the tomato mixture. Tip in the reserved water and give everything a good stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper to your own personal taste. I refrain from giving exact measures because I like a lot of salt and you may not.
Serve immediately with blobs of ricotta on top to be stirred in when eating.
NOTE: I think some green chilli would also be a good addition and you can play around with the quantities of herbs and oil depending on your personal taste.
Delia Smith’s Green Tomato Chutney
Makes 8 x 450g jars
- 1kg of green tomatoes
- 1kg of cooking apples
- 900g of onions
- 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 450g of raisins
- 625g of soft brown sugar
- 25g of pickling spice
- ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 level dessertspoons of ground ginger
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- 1.75 litres of malt vinegar
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.
Peel and quarter the onions.
Peel and core the apples – keeping them in water so that they don’t go brown.
Mince the tomatoes, onions, raisins and apples and place them in a very large pan. Now I don’t have a mincer and I don’t know of anyone that does these days. An alternative is to use a food processor and this is what I do.
Now add the garlic, cayenne, salt, ginger and sugar and mix everything together thoroughly.
Tie the pickling spice in a piece of cloth and attach the string to the handle of the pan so that it dangles down into the mix.
Now pour in the vinegar and bring to a simmer, removing any scum from the surface.
Simmer very gently for 3.5 hours without covering, stirring now and then to prevent sticking.
It is ready when the vinegar is absorbed and the chutney has thickened to a smooth consistency. The chutney should leave a trail on a metal spoon when it’s done.
Pour the chutney into 8 sterile 450g jars, filling them as full as possible.
Cover with wax sealing discs and seal with a tight lid immediately.
Store in a dark, cool place and leave for at least 3 months before eating. I have found though that this chutney is best when left for at least a year and the very best when left for 3 years!