I’m facing a seriously critical conundrum. One that will impact the entirety of my upcoming summer. And I’m not sure what to do.

Do I plant tomatoes or bag it?

Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta

To some of you this may seem like the most unsubstantial predicament to be in. You probably thinking, Heidi, it’s time to call off the search, you’ve found that molehill and made the mountain.

But it isn’t that easy.

I’ve grown tomatoes every year, for years. But the past few have seen a steady downward spiral of yield and just plain growth. My tomato crop at the end of summer has turned into a total bummer crop instead of my oh so wishful bumper crop.

Last year I swore that this would be the year I took some time off from my tomato planting endeavors. And then when I received a bounty of freshly grown tomatoes on the vine from a new company I’m working with, I realized it would be perfectly fine if my garden went tomatoe-less this year. I can get a #bumpercropinabox (Ha! #hashtagJimmyFallon) and still satisfy my summer ‘mater-eating obsession.

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Okay, breaking news. I’ve been swayed by my family and neighbors and will still be planting a few garden varieties. Those are my little buggers above. Who’ve been sitting in the driveway for about a week and are now turning yellow. If I ever get them in the ground, I might have tomatoes by November. Ugh.

While my seedlings are digging in their roots, there’s no way in a mountain turned into a molehill that my tomato cravings will have diminished. At all. So I’m just happy to have discovered a grocery store tomato whose flavor compares to my hopefully one day harvested garden tomato.

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t’mates by Del Campo are these little cluster tomatoes that come in the best little recyclable cardboard containers with great typography on the pack. Hey, I’m a type nerd through and through and packaging is what does it for me. Throw in that it’s environmentally friendly and family farmed and you got me, hook-line-sinker.

The cocktail tomatoes are infused with flavor, have great texture and a really long shelf life. Which is helpful when I get a package or 29 for recipe developing. Because baby, these sweet things are NOT going to waste!

You’ll be seeing a few recipes with t’mates on the bloggity blog this summer and our first plate at the table is Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta.

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Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe on foodiecrush.com

About the recipe

This recipe really came about just because I was simply hungry for lunch, making it a really simple recipe. And the fact that I had a bunch of t’mates that arrived perfectly ripened and ready to be cooked. Plus fresh ricotta in the fridge. I’ve had a bit of a fresh ricotta obsession lately, so adding a dollop to the cooked pasta added a creamy texture but with 5 times the calcium, so that was a no brainer.

I used organic whole wheat pasta, you know, keeping my healthy carbs in check. I love the farfalle with just enough ridges and valleys to gather the light sauce that the fresh tomatoes create as they meet the heat of the pan and the garlic infused olive oil. Whole wheat pasta takes a little longer to cook, but go ahead and drain it from the water when it still has quite a bit of bite. For the most flavor, I toss it into the pan with the fresh tomatoes, etc., so it can cook right along with it, infusing the garlic and oil and tomato flavors. Just a few minutes together will do the trick. Add a tablespoon or two of reserved pasta water to the mix if you like a more saucy pasta.

Spinach is my most likely addition to a quick pasta like this but any leafy green will do. Arugula and swiss chard would add a particularly nice and spunky bite.

Basil. Who can bear to eat fresh tomatoes without basil? It’s a requirement around here.

Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper and more ricotta if desired. You bet I desire.

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Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Whole Wheat Pasta
 
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces whole wheat short pasta, I used farfalle
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 11.5 ounce package t'mates cocktail size tomatoes, about 8-10 tomatoes, quartered
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil, slivered
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the whole wheat pasta about 1 minute less than the package directions, so pasta is done but al dente. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the minced garlic and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 5 minutes until oil becomes fragrant. Be sure to watch the garlic so it doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.
  3. Add the drained hot pasta to the tomatoes with the fresh spinach. Toss and cook until spinach begins to wilt. Add the fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese and more kosher salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta seems dry, add more olive oil or 1-2 tablespoons of pasta water to the pasta mixture. Top with dollops of fresh ricotta, drizzle with more olive oil and serve.

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Check out Cookin’ Canuck’s recipe for Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes here

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And take a gander at Southern Fairytale’s The Ultimate B.G.T Sandwich {Bacon Guacamole Tomato here

Happy tomato eating.

This post and giveaway is sponsored by t’mates by Del Campo. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.  

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