It's that time of year again, aka tomato season! Tomatoes are now in peak-season in the New York State area and with over 6,000 varieties there has never been so much accessibility or reason to not go to the farmers market and try out some new recipes.
Since tomatoes are so versatile, I find myself cooking with them on a daily basis for clients. Whether it’s making a fresh Pomodoro sauce, Pico de Gallo to serve with a piece of fish, or simply adding cherry tomatoes to a salad I find that in-season, locally sourced ones make all the difference in simple dishes such as these.
The health benefits can vary between types of tomatoes but all are intensely nutritious plant foods. Heirloom tomatoes for example are picked at the pick of their ripeness while other hybrid tomatoes are picked while still green. This gives the heirloom tomatoes greater vitamin content, like C and K.
One of my favorite places to get tomatoes from is Eckerton Hill Farm. They are known for having over one hundred types of heirloom tomatoes and their roots originate on the rooftop of a brownstone in Brooklyn. I would strongly recommend going to the Union Square Farmers Market to visit their stand and experience these for yourself!
I recently made tomato & spinach risotto for a client. This dish is a fresh, summer favorite and can be made with ground sausage or sautéed shrimp if you want to make a one-pot meal. Find the recipe below and enjoy!
Tomato & Spinach Risotto:
· Small yellow onion, finely chopped
· Garlic clove, minced
- Homemade tomato purée, 2-1/2 cups
· Certified gluten-free arborio rice, 1 cup
· Dry white wine (I used pinot grigio), ¼ cup
· Vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded & chopped, 2
· Baby spinach, roughly chopped, 4 cups
· Butter, 2 tablespoons
· Salt and Pepper, to taste
· Fresh basil, to taste
· Freshly grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup
1. Bring tomato purée and two cups of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cover with lid and keep warm.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat and add yellow onion. Season with salt & pepper, and then sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds.
3. Add rice then stir to coat in mixture. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice. Add 1/2 cup tomato mixture then stir continuously until nearly absorbed. Continue adding tomato mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed before adding more.
4. When there's 1/4 of the broth remaining, add chopped tomatoes and continue stirring.
5. Add butter, parmesan cheese, baby spinach, and basil once all of liquid is absorbed. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.