Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

05/02/2015

To make your own oven-dried tomatoes:

20 or so ripe (egg-shape) tomatoes, halved/quartered lengthwise
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Place the tomatoes, already cut, on a baking tray.
Drizzle on a generous amount of olive oil, season with salt, and toss so they are well coated.
Arrange them cut side up and bake for about half an hour.
Reduce the heat and bake for about 3 hours on very low heat (about 130 degrees).
They will be still moist in their centers.
Allow to cool.

For the pesto:
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 anchovy fillets
extra-virgin olive oil
very tiny splash of grappa (optional)
3 tablespoons of capers
zest 1 small orange
ground black pepper

Place about half of the oven-dried tomatoes in a processor and pulse a few times.
Add a little extra virgin olive oil to make it a smooth texture if required.
(If using sun-dried tomatoes in a jar or other chop roughly and just use a few the time.)

Add the garlic, capers, anchovies, and half the orange zest. Pulse again.
Season with black pepper and add a tiny splash of grappa and stir.

Pulse the mixture a few times and add the remainder of tomatoes.
Continue to pulse until it is a smooth paste.
(If using sun-dried tomatoes in a jar or other it may not be as smooth.)
Taste it for seasoning – the anchovies and capers add saltiness.

Place the pesto in a bowl and top with a few bits of orange zest.

DELICIOUS IDEAS TO SHARE:

Fresh bread brushed with garlic oil and spread with tomato pesto.
Spread tomato pesto on toast and top with creamy ricotta or other cheese.
Add a spoon full of tomato pesto to scrambled eggs.
When stir frying vegetables add a couple of spoons full of tomato pesto.
For an easy pasta salad add a couple of spoons full of tomato pesto.
Spread on pizza dough and just add mozzarella etc for an easy pizza.
Use instead of pickles in sandwiches with cheese or ham.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for a day or two.
If not using again for a while, store in a jar topped with olive oil.

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