Sometimes you need a segue. Not one of those vertical scooter-like vehicles that automatically prompts a chuckle with visions of Paul Blart or Gob awkwardly motoring along (I apologize if you have not seen Mall Cop or Arrested Development. I also apologize for admitting that I have). A segue that gracefully closes the door on one thing while getting you excited about what is yet to come.
Currently I’m making the transition from Summer to Fall. In the last few weeks I’ve had a lunch of fresh tomatoes with shaved corn, basil and goat cheese while then enjoying a slice of apple pie for dessert. While I’m not complaining about either of these dishes, I’m feeling the pull of wanting to snatch up the last of the Summer’s bounty while yet being nudged into cold weather foods, with thoughts of cold, dark evenings, and *gasp* even the holidays.
With my mind leaning into the cold months eating raw zucchini, and fresh tomatoes feels somewhat uncouth. In an effort to seque to Fall while still saying my long goodbyes to Summer I created a meal that has a hand in either direction.
Bright Summer tomatoes blend with sun-dried tomatoes for added depth and warmth. Fresh herbs brighten while sweet paprika add a subtle smokiness that spurs up images of evenings in front of the fire. A thick hearty tomato paste that softens under the heat of pasta is again brightened with a casually placed pile of fresh arugula. Topped with freshly grated Parmesan and toasted walnuts it’s the perfect segue of the seasons.
If you’d prefer to pass on the pasta slather this pesto on a sandwich instead. Perhaps grilled with a slice of Provolone.
1 medium tomato
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (if using oil cured reserved 2 T of the oil to add in later)
1 garlic clove
½ cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (optional)
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ cup toasted walnut halves
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (or reserved oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
In the bowl of a food processor add the tomatoes and garlic. Blend. Add the remaining ingredients and blend to combine. Tast and adjust seasoning.
Toss this with pasta and top with Parmesan and walnuts. Or simply use as a sandwich spread or a fresh vegetable dip.