Oven-dried tomato pesto.

In October, this late in the summer vegetable-gardening season, we’re still getting scads of cherry tomatoes, thanks to a stretch of absolutely gorgeous, mid-70-degree weather. I fear that will not last.

We’re picking tomatoes faster than we can eat them (huh?), and I found myself with a pint of overripe, slightly bruised little guys sitting in the bowl by the windowsill. So today I whipped up a batch of oven-dried tomato pesto.

You could easily make this with regular-sized tomatoes that you’ve preserved overnight in the oven (here’s how to do that), or with store-bought sun-dried tomatoes (use good ones, packed in oil in a jar; not the icky leathery dried ones that are full of preservatives). The recipe here makes just a half-pint of pesto (about 1 cup); you’d be well-advised to make a larger batch for the freezer.

oven-dried tomato pesto
makes about 1 cup

1 pint cherry tomatoes (it’s fine to use overripe or blemished ones), halved
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. dry-toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup good olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a sheet of foil on a baking sheet; smear the foil lightly with olive oil. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut-side up, on the sheet. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of coarse salt. Roast the tomatoes for at least 2 hours, up to 3, until they shrivel up a bit and smell sweetly toasted. Remove from oven and cool. Place tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor; pulse repeatedly until the mixture is mashed up into a coarse paste. Add olive oil; pulse to combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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basil pesto 
tomato-basil jam