Monday, May 6, 2013

Roasted Rosemary Tomatoes & Zucchini Pasta

What a fabulous weekend I had out in D.C. for Bree's wedding shower.  Well, actually, it was to Maryland for a stay with the Rodgers - Bree's adopted D.C. family, relatives of her maid-of-honor, Lizzie, and hosts of the shower.  Before I get much more into the lovely company, let me just give Maryland a big "wowza!"  My travels within the U.S. are relatively poor, but Maryland's natural beauty was a rare moment of encouragement to see more of my own country.  Check out the gorgeous Potomac River that runs through Great Falls Park, separating Maryland and Virginia.
Now that I've misled you to believe that I spent a weekend outdoors checking out the Chesapeake, let me outline exactly how many completely-worth-it calories inspired this week's blog post.  The shower was a totally homemade affair from the drinks all the way down to the table decorations.  Ten small dishes were served, followed by a completely homemade decorated cake with edible flowers and white chocolate dipped Oreos that easily could have sold for $4 each in some fancy confectionery.  These dishes were my favs: roasted rosemary tomato bruschetta (inspiration for this post), baked goat cheese stuffed crimini mushrooms with rosemary breadcrumbs, crab cakes, and zucchini tots.
Judy Rodgers and her best friend, Connie, (with some help from the rest of the gang) pulled off an incredible feat: cooking and preparing for this party without completely losing it or turning into she-devils (like me, whenever I host).  In fact, it was totally the opposite.  Apparently, planning and preparing an elaborate meal of small dishes can actually be an occasion for friends and family to laugh at their blunders and collaborate lovingly!  This was a foreign concept to me, as holidays and hosting growing up were pretty anxiety-ridden affairs.  I woke up each morning to laughter and delicious smells wafting from the kitchen.  Perhaps the only thing better than the food this weekend was the great company - I haven't laughed (or eaten) that much in a long time.

So here is Judy's delicious recipe for a bruschetta topping that I knew would be great tossed with zucchini pasta.  But, trust me, it was awesome on top of toasted bread.  The oven will fill your house with the scent of rosemary, and that will last much longer than the food itself.

Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings for pasta or about 30 small pieces of bruchetta)
  • 2 large cans of whole, stewed tomatoes, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 sprigs of rosemary, torn off the sprig
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 large zucchini, julienned in long strips for pasta OR 1 loaf of baguette or thin Italian bread
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  While waiting, chop and tear you tomatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary.
Mix in a bowl, pressing out the extra liquid and pouring it off.  Try to get that mixture as dry as you can before adding the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
In a single layer, spread out in a glass/ceramic baking dish (or a parchment lined aluminum pan) and bake for 2 hours.  The slower the better, it also tasted great when I roasted at 350 degrees for a little over an hour.  
If you're going with the zucchini spaghetti option, julienne long strips of zucchini while the tomatoes bake. (For step-by-step instructions, check out this post).  Toss the zucchini in the pan with the tomatoes when they are done.
For bruschetta, oil and toast thin slices of Italian bread until they are dark brown and crunchy.  Cool and top with 1-2 pieces of tomato each.


  1. What a great looking dish! The long strips of zucchini look like artwork!

    1. Good excuse to practice some knife skills! But, no, it looks a lot fancier than it really is...try it!

  2. I love this post!! When I made this dish it turned out delicious, but I am a far less talented julienne-er than you. Mine looked more like chopsticks than spaghetti. I can't believe I didn't bring home my zucchini shaver!

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