At il Giallo, certain ingredients are so important our chefs hold them sacred, among those are fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozzarella di Bufala, and vine-ripe tomatoes.
This time of year restaurants in both Atlanta and Italy have an abundance of ripe, beautiful tomatoes, each one absolutely bursting with flavor.
Almost every Italian-American recipe adapted from the Old World seems to call for tomatoes in some form. Readily available, and as recognizable on today’s shelves as they were years ago, tomatoes quickly became immigrant Italians’ favorite member of the nightshade family. Sun dried, canned, or in a paste, they capture the summer sunshine and release their bright acidity into every Sunday gravy, Marinara, and Bolognese sauce we adore.
These days Americans each eat about 31.4 pounds of tomatoes every year in our pizza sauces, barbeque, and ketchup, sometimes without really thinking about the fruit itself, or even that it is a fruit, much less where it came from.
During the height of tomato season, we want to share where you can find exceptional fresh tomatoes and what you can do with them.
“Excellent Ingredients, Simply Prepared”
Native Italians living in the U.S. have always known that our grocery store tomatoes can’t compete with the flavor of homegrown or those found in the busy, open-air European markets they fondly remember. Lucky for us, in the past 10 years local farmers markets in Atlanta and other U.S. cities have caught everyone’s attention for the super fresh, high quality produce just picked from local farms. We encourage everyone to find your local farmer’s market and shop for fresh tomatoes!
Visit A Tomato Festival in Georgia
Believe it or not, Atlanta and many towns in Georgia love tomatoes so much they invite chefs and restaurants from all over to showcase their most creative tomato dishes. The tomato festivals listed below are a great place to get inspired and maybe even trade recipes with your favorite chef.
What To Do With Sungolds and Cherry Tomatoes
Early in tomato season, we start to see these little gems right before their beefier brothers are done ripening. They’re so sweet you’ll want to eat them in the car on the way home. Resist that urge, and find cherry-sized Ciliegine (sometimes called Perline) of fresh Mozzarella wherever you buy good Italian cheese, as the perfect accompaniment.
Smaller than the Ovoline or Bocconcini we usually get, they are almost the same size as Sungolds and Cherry tomatoes. Tossed with fresh basil, cracked pepper and olive oil or pesto, you can make a bite-sized caprese salad that is a wonderful addition to any picnic spread or antipasti.
Making Pasta Pomodoro
This 3-ingredient sauce is created in kitchens throughout Italy, and has to be made with the best ingredients you can find. Start by sautéing garlic in a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, then adding chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and hot pasta to the pan. After a couple of tosses to coat every strand, finish with shredded Parmesan Reggiano and eat immediately.
For Chef Jamie Adams’ Marinara Sauce recipe you can visit il Giallo’s Facebook Page , where Chef Adams just revealed it. And if you’d like more of these recipes, please subscribe to become an il Giallo insider on the very bottom of their website, and you will receive authentic Italian recipes right in your inbox!
Do you know an exceptional dish that celebrates tomato season? Share your recipe ideas in the comments below or send us a photo of your dish on Instagram, tagging @gialloatl.
Every Friday – Awesome Buco Friday – Chef Jamie simmers just 10 Osso Buco in fresh herbs and spices for hours and serves them with saffron risotto. These melt in your mouth Osso Buco are available on a first come, first serve basis.