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Food Pairings - Tomato and Basil

Monday, 26 April 2010

All week we are asking our chefs to cook two recipes using two foods or spices that they feel go really well together. Today Kevin Dundon has chosen to work with tomato and basil as he feels these two ingredients are a match made in heaven.


Fact: Basil and Tomato taste so well together because they grow so well together. You can actually grow them in the same pot.

Tomato & Basil Sauce (for Chicken, Pasta & Pizza)

Ingredients - Sauce:

. 2 cans of chopped tomatoes (800g)
. 1 medium sized onion
. 6-8 mushrooms-sliced thinly
. 2 cloves of garlic
. 3 tablespoons torn basil
. 4flozs/125ml cream (optional)
. Seasoning

Method:

1) Heat a medium sized saucepan and fry the onion, mushroomand garlic until nice and soft.


2) Mix in the chopped tomatoes.


3) Allow the mixture to bubble away for about 10 minutes.


4) If using the cream add to the sauce now to enrich it.


5) Adjust the seasoning and then reduce the heat to a very low heat and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes.


6) Add the chopped basil and then puree the sauce in a food processor or blender.
Serve as required.

Serving Suggestions:

You can serve this sauce with any of the following:

. Cooked chicken Breasts
. Use as a sauce on pizza bases, top with mozzarella for a delicious margarita
. Serve over some delicious meatballs
. Toss in some freshly cooked pasta and scatter with a little grated parmesan
. Pour over roasted vegetables for a cheat's ratatouille.


Basil can also go well with Lemon peel, Mandarin peel and Kumquat peel, Tea black, Peru dark chocolate and Uganda dark chocolate.

Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto

This soup is delicious when served chilled. It has a very unusual taste that works wonderfully for home entertaining.

Ingredients:


. 1kg/2½lb ripe plum tomatoes washed and halved
. 3 tbsp olive oil
. 3 garlic cloves, peeled
. 1 large onion
. salt and freshly ground black pepper
. 2 tsp light brown sugar
. 175ml/6fl oz light chicken or vegetable stock, or water (approximately)

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4


2) Place the halved tomatoes onto a flat baking tray and drizzle lightly with a little olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper.


3) Place in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes until the tomatoes are very soft and slightly coloured.


4) Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in the pan and add in the chopped onion and garlic and sauté gently-without colour for 3-4 minutes.


5) Add in the roasted tomatoes and continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes.


6) Add in the stock (perhaps not all of it depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes).


7) Bring to the boil and then pass the soup through a blender to puree the soup.


8) Correct the consistency with additional stock and the seasoning with a little salt and pepper.


9) Transfer to a large jug and chill for at least 4 hours.


10) Garnish with basil pesto.


Basil Pesto

. 30g fresh basil leaves (1 large handful)
. 15g grated parmesan (2 dessertspoons)
. Juice of ½ lemon
. 1 dessertspoon of pine nuts (toasted or un-toasted)
. 100-150ml olive oil
. 2 cloves of garlic-crushed

Add all the ingredients into a food processor or puree with a hand blender until they are smooth. The basil pesto will last in your fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Although it will darken slightly in colour it will still be delicious as the flavours will just be more mature.
If you are unsure what you intend to use the pesto for, make it a little thicker and add extra oil as is required.

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