Whew! My green tomatoes are done for the year, but here are all my ideas for green tomatoes. Try:
- pork/green tomato ragu with pinenuts and raisins
- green tomato mole
- Thai hot and sour green tomato stirfry with fish
- Punk Domestics’ collection of green tomato recipes for canning
- my fermented green tomato chowchow relish
- a collection of tested recipes from the Master Food Preservers.
I was inspired by a comment on David Lebovitz’s post about his Indian-influenced spiced green tomato chutney. The chutney looks delicious in its own right, but the real star was someone named Tia, who shared ideas from Rome for green tomatoes:
Late in the fall, green tomatoes take over the Roman markets. They are good as a salad on their own — especially the ones with a rosey hue — they add body to chicken soup, and they also make a nice, somewhat tangy ragu for pasta: Lightly crisp a small amount of pancetta in olive oil, add a smashed clove or two of garlic and some chopped shallot or onion along with a bay leaf and a bit of fennel seed. If you want a richer sauce, crumble in some mild pork sausage. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink, but don’t let it brown. Add a lot of roughly chopped green tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook into a sauce over medium heat. Toss with penne, ziti, orecchiette, or other shaped pasta. Finish with parsely, lemon zest, and black pepper. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and flock with grated pecorino cheese.
Is there any way to improve on this? Why yes, there is. It’s a good idea to roast your remaining green tomatoes: slice in half or in chunks, toss in olive oil and salt, and roast on 225 for a few hours before bagging them up and freezing. They can be used for enchilada verde sauce or this delicious ragu in the middle of winter. I like the balance of sweet, savory, and tanginess in my adaptation, too, which used up the last of the rosé. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it was absolutely delicious.
Roasted Green Tomato Ragu with Pork Sausage, Raisins, and Pine Nuts
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 lbs. green tomatoes (roughly 3 cups cooked down)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup very dry, pale rosé or pinot gris
- 1 lb. pork sausage meat (sweet Italian with fennel or pork with sage is perfect)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, if pine nuts aren’t in your budget
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, for topping pasta
Mince onion and garlic. Chop tomatoes. Plump raisins in the rosé. Toast pine nuts until just barely colored, and set aside.
Cook onion in some olive oil over medium heat until golden (do not brown). Add the garlic and sausage meat, continuing to cook over medium heat until cooked through, breaking up large chunks of sausage. Add chopped green tomatoes, either precooked/frozen earlier or raw. Add wine and raisins. Let simmer with sausage, pressing against tomatoes with wooden spoon to break into sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed.
As the sauce is simmering, prepare your pasta. This ragu does best with penne or a similarly large, ridged rolled pasta. Or a lovely macaroni — kind of like a gardener’s Hamburger Helper, if you think about it. The sauce is done when the pasta is done. Add more wine or water if it seems to be too thick.
Integrate the sauce and cooked pasta, leaving just a bit of starchy water in the bottom of the pasta pot, and adding enough sauce to coat well. Fold in pine nuts just before serving, and top each bowl of pasta with lots of grated parmesan.