When my garden delivers boat loads of tomatoes I get a little inventive with what to do with them. Before having my daughter, Sistilia, I was a big fan of jarring. But these days that project is a too big and I no longer have the storage space for those nostalgic glass jars bursting with summer goodness. My available cabinet space has been taken over by sippy cups, plastic plates and suction snack bowls. These days I focus on quick garden bounty turnaround, cooking up what's good when it's good, and this time of year tomatoes are the bomb. Now fear not, if you don't grow your own, the good ones are all around you. Im not suggesting you hop a fence and snatch some from a neighbor, but just cruise on over to your local grocer or even better farmers market, or if you are country folk, hit that highway stand. The trickle down affect of an in-season fruit or vegetable travels far and wide, even to your corner deli.
My favorite place to buy in season produce is a little spot in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey called Angelo's. It's on the backroads to Atlantic City and luckily those are the roads I prefer to take. Not only does seasonal produce reign supreme at Angelo's, they make these glorious little tomato pies that are drool worthy AND you can buy more then you can carry for less then a mani/pedi in Brooklyn, which translates to super affordable.
But back to this dish, I have been making this one for a long time, it's not family passed, just something I came up with one day while banging pots and pans and trying to figure out what else to do with a tomato. I'm a huge fan of cannellini beans, I feel like their density lends a filling hand to any dish, and while it's certainly not an gnocchi, sometimes I pretend it is and it helps to fill the post 35 pasta limitations that I work within.
In it's natural state, this recipe is less then 2 weight watchers points, which makes hard core WW fanatics like my dear sister very happy. So stay light on that olive oil and balsamic and dig on it!
What Do I Need
9 X 9 deep dish casserole or baking dish
4 - 6 tomatoes, Heirlooms, Beefsteaks or big boys are great for this
(size depending on the tomatoes, you want them pretty snug in the baking dish)
31 Ounces of Cannellini Beans (2 cans)
1/4 Cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 Cup Passata (passata is pureed tomatoes, you can also use crushed tomatoes)
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
S & P
feeds 4 - 6
preheat your oven to 375
Pour your drained beans into your baking dish, mix 1/2 cup passata with your 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and stir well. Pour half of the mixture over the beans, add 3/4's of the basil, salt and pepper and stir gently mixing everything well. Now, cut the tops of the tomatoes off and arrange over the beans. The tomatoes should be a little snug in there but not jammed in. I like to clear a space in the beans for the tomatoes so that their bottoms touch the dish. Once your tomatoes are arranged, drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Place in the oven to 30 - 45 minutes. Be sure to check on your dish every 15 minutes or so and add some of the remaining passata and balsamic mixture to the beans as needed, gently mix it
in with a small spoon. you don't want your beans to dry out! When done, your tomatoes should be soft to the touch but not falling apart!
You can mix and match herbs on this, I have done it with rosemary and oregano and it's delicious. You can also toss in some chopped prosciutto, pancetta or speck into the bean mix for a nice meaty flavor!