Tomato season in Italy

As the weeks get hotter and the days get lazier, it’s time for one of our favorite foods: fresh tomatoes. Red and juicy, plump and bright, when tomatoes are in season they are the ideal ingredient for a delicious meal that celebrates authentic Italian cuisine.

 

Juicy sliced tomatoes | (Image: Dan Iggers)

Juicy sliced tomatoes | (Image: Dan Iggers)

 

Whether you choose San Marzano, cherry, grape or on-the-vine varieties, perfectly ripe tomatoes are a cook’s dream thanks to their vibrant color, unique flavor, low cost and incredible versatility. That’s why we’ve decided to bring you 5 of our favorite (and quick) ways to prepare Italy’s signature produce. No kitchen can go without this fresh ingredient, so when you start to feel the heat, forget the cans and run to the farmer’s market for the juicy treat of a tomato!

 

On-the-vine tomatoes are delicious in season | (Image: Staisey Benelli)

On-the-vine tomatoes are delicious in season | (Image: Staisey Benelli)

 

1. Caprese salad

Insalata Caprese / Caprese Salad

Insalata Caprese / Caprese salad

  • Fast, yet surprisingly satisfying, the Caprese salad features the best Italian ingredients in a colorful dish that resembles the national flag.
  • All you need to do is layer or stack sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella and basil leaves on a plate or serving platter, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and salt, then serve.

2. Bruschetta

Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes

Bruschetta

  • Bruschetta is one of Italy’s most famous (and most mispronounced) dishes. Served cold, this savory hors d’oeuvre is a great way to start out a summer dinner.
  • Toast some bread on the grill or in the oven, rub it with raw garlic, add some chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and finish with a pinch of salt. Express your creativity with some chopped vegetables, cheese, basil or other fresh herbs.

3. Simple tomato salad

Insalata al pomodoro / Tomato Salad | (Image: Michael Napoleon)

Insalata al pomodoro / Tomato salad | (Image: Michael Napoleon)

  • The essence of a standout tomato side salad is to keep it simple. If you add too many ingredients, you lose the taste of tomatoes.
  • Toss chopped tomatoes and red onion with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper if you like, and top with torn basil leaves.

4. Fresh tomato pasta

Fresh tomatoes pasta

Pasta al pomodoro fresco / Fresh tomato pasta

  • This delicate pasta  is a nearly no-cook dish, perfect for summer evenings when it’s too hot to linger at the stove.
  • In a large bowl combine several chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Add enough olive oil to just coat the tomatoes. Drain pasta and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Add some basil and parmesan cheese.

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