Creamy Pesto & Cherokee Purple Tomato Sauce

May 14, 2013

The green market circuit in Palm Beach County is pretty extensive, running from Tequesta to Boca, and hitting all points in-between, serving up fresh locally grown produce, herbs, fruit, artisanal food stuffs and crafts. One of the more interesting locales of the bunch is the Jupiter Green and Artisan Market. Located in the Riverwalk Plaza under the Indiantown Bridge on Fridays from 5-9 p.m., the market utilizes a truly scenic space and is loaded with goodies. Vendors include: produce from organic growers Kai-Kai Farms; farm fresh eggs from Farriss Farms; fresh pastas, gourmet cheeses and charcuterie from Fratello Sole; and artisanal olive oils from Olive Oils of the World, to name but a few. But what caught our eye on a recent visit was the heirloom tomatoes from Palm Beach Gardens-based Homegrown Herbs and Heirlooms and Virg and Mary's Heavenly Pesto Plus.

Medium-sized Cherokee tomatoes were ripe for the picking, and too good to pass up, so we bought three pounds. While Virg and Mary's pesto, a unique blend that eschews the typical pine nuts for pistachio and adds a bit of spice with jalapeno, was delicious on the crostini, so we picked up an 8 oz. container to give it a try.

  • Cherokee-Tomatoes-and-Pesto
    Cherokee purple tomatoes and locally made pesto.
We combined the two for a simple,yet flavorful cream sauce that is great with pasta, on a pizza, or a mixed in some meatballs; whatever the mood may strike. Overall time is about an hour, so be patient. Enjoy!

Creamy Pesto and Heirloom Tomato Sauce

  • 6 to 8 medium Cherokee Purple tomatoes; blanched and peeled
  • 2 heaping tbs Virg n Mary's Pesto
  • 3 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic; crushed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs. whipping cream
  • 1 onion; chopped roughly
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs. grated Parmesan

In a medium-large stock pot, bring salted water to a low boil. Using only ripe tomatoes—overly ripe will not blanch well, instead bursting—wash thoroughly. Remove stem scar with a paring knife, leaving a shallow cone into the tomato. With the same paring knife, cut a shallow X on the underside—these tomatoes are a bit bumpy, so you may need to cut along different ridges and folds. Place tomatoes in the boiling water until skin begins to shrink—times will differ based on ripeness and size. Immediately place tomatoes in a bowl of ice water to let cool.

  • Creamy-Pesto-Tomato-Sauce-on-angelhair
    Creamy Pesto & Cherokee Purple Tomato Sauce on angel hair pasta.
Meanwhile, in a stock pot, saute chopped onion and garlic in a tablespoon of butter. Once tomatoes are cool to the touch, peel skin and add to the stock pot once onions become translucent along with oregano and pesto. Over medium heat, saute tomatoes for 15 minutes, crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stirring frequently; add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat, and using an emulsion blender, liquify. Let simmer for another ten minutes or so, stirring frequently. Add whipping cream, tablespoon of butter and cheese; stir into sauce until even and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite pasta.