This is my entry for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging round up. This blogging event was started by Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen. The the host for this Week's Edition of Weekend Herb Blogging is Susan from The Well Seasoned Cook. Be sure to click on through and see what the other weekend herb bloggers have been up to!
It's been a few weeks since I've had something for WHB - not because I haven't been cooking - you know that hasn't been the case! LOL Rather, I've been preoccupied by elections and other such nonsense. Normality will soon return - I hope!
When Paul was debating what to cook for dinner on Sunday I suggested that he make something that would use up some of the cherry tomatoes from the garden. We planted them late this year because of our trip to Italy. Of course, they would be at their most prolific just when the growing season is quickly winding down! We had about three pounds of yellow pear tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and mini plum tomatoes.
Earlier in the year when we attempted roasted cherry tomatoes we were impressed with how deep the flavour became after they were roasted. When I found a simple pasta recipe on this blog, we decided it was just the ticket for a quick Sunday dinner after a busy weekend.
We really enjoyed the flavours of this dish - roasted tomatoes, capers, olives, and oregano is as Mediterranean as you can get! The tomatoes take on a rich and vibrant flavour after they have been roasted. This allows them to stand on their own without being overwhelmed by the capers, olives, and herbs.
If you're like us and have a garden full of tomatoes this might be just the trick to use them up!
Pappardelle with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Oregano
3 pints (2 lbs) cherry tomatoes, each tomato halved pole to pole (lengthwise)
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sugar, or to taste
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/4 c drained capers
1 lb pappardelle
1 T salt
1/4 c chopped kalamata olives
3 T chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted (optional)
2 oz grated Pecorino Romano cheese (1 cup)
Adjust oven rack to middle position: heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, gently toss tomatoes with oil, 1/2 tsp salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sugar, garlic, and capers. Spread in even layer on rimmed baking sheet (about 17 by 12) and roast until tomato skins are slightly shriveled (tomatoes should retain their shape), 35-40 minutes. (Do not stir tomatoes during roasting.) Remove tomatoes from oven and cool 5-10 minutes.
While tomatoes cook, bring four quarts of water to a boil in large stockpot. Just before removing tomatoes from the oven, stir 1 T salt and pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Using rubber spatula, scrape tomato mixture into pot on top of pasta. Add olives and oregano; toss to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling pine nuts and cheese over individual bowls.
The warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor of oregano makes it the perfect addition to Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. This popular herb whose name means "mountain joy" is available throughout the year.
Oregano is known botanically as Origanum vulgare and is called wild marjoram in many parts of Europe since it is closely related to the herb that we know as sweet marjoram. It is a small shrub with multi-branched stems covered with small grayish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. In Mediterranean climates oregano grows as a perennial plant, but in the harsher climates of North America, they grow as annuals.
Oregano is native to northern Europe, although it grows throughout many regions of the world. It has been recognized for its aromatic properties since ancient times, with the Greeks and Romans holding oregano as a symbol of joy and happiness. In fact, it was a tradition for Greek and Roman brides and grooms to be crowned with a laurel of oregano.
Oregano has been cultivated in France since the Middle Ages and has come to be an important herb in Mediterranean cooking. Oregano was hardly known inNorth America until the early 20th century when GIs returning from Italy brought word of this fragrant and delicious herb back to the United States.
Whenever possible, choose fresh oregano over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. The leaves of fresh oregano should look fresh and be a vibrant green in color, while the stems should be firm. They should be free from darks spots or yellowing.
Even through dried herbs and spices like oregano are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried herbs, when purchasing dried oregano, try to buy that which has been organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.
Fresh oregano should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. It may also be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Alternatively, you can freeze the oregano in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews. Dried oregano should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container