Tomatoes x 5

The tomatoes are coming, the tomatoes are coming!

Late summer is that magical time of year when garden tomatoes ripen on the vine – and quickly become the thing that you cannot eat or give away fast enough! In all of their deliciousness, it can be hard to keep up.

Here are 5 of my favorite tomato dishes, which may inspire you to use your overabundance of those vine-ripened beauties, regardless of their size, variety and color. Some I learned from Nonna and her recipes inspired others.

1. Crostini Pomodorini~

(*Subscribers click HERE to view this crostini video from your e-mail.)


1 baguette, cut on the bias into ¼- to ½-inch-thick slices

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half, stem end to bottom.

Extra virgin olive oil

Dried oregano

Kosher or Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh oregano, leaves removed from their stems

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional – makes cleanup easier). Arrange the bread slices on the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Distribute the cut tomatoes on top of the bread slices. Sprinkle each with dried oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle again with a little olive oil.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have started to roast and the bread is lightly browned and crunchy.

Remove from oven, top the tomatoes with some fresh oregano leaves. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Arrange on a serving platter. May be served warm or at room temperature.

2. Classic Tomato Bruschetta

Classic-Tomato-Bruschette-horizontal-photo "Mark Leslie" "Beyond the Pasta"

Grilled bread rubbed with fresh garlic, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper – is there anything easier and more Italian than this?!

Click HERE for the recipe!

3. Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Italians love stuffed and baked vegetable sides! (Yes, technically, tomatoes are a fruit.) These are a perfect side for a brunch or served with roasted or grilled meat and fish. The recipe can be found on the “Beyond the Pasta” App on iTunes.

Click HERE for more details!

4. Heirloom Tomato and Onion Tart with Pancetta, Basil, and Mint

On one trip to visit Nonna in Italy, she prepared a tomato tart using items she had on hand ~ garden tomatoes, mint, basil, pancetta and onions. I didn’t watch her prepare this tart, so here is my reconstructed version of hers. For me, one bite has all the flavors of summer!

*I prepared this tart for the House Beautiful photo shoot of my house. The crew from the magazine LOVED it. Here is the LINK to the online version of the House Beautiful Feb 2010 magazine feature.

Click HERE for this tomato tart recipe!

5. Heirloom Tomato Beggar’s Purses

This recipe is based on the above tomato tart recipe. The tomato tart is such a summer hit that when I was asked by a friend to bring an appetizer to a summer evening’s cocktail party, I decided to convert the tart into a finger food appetizer. Same ingredients as the tart, just constructed in a different form.

The recipe and assembly video can be found on the “Beyond the Pasta” App on iTunes. Click HERE for more details!

I hope these recipes will inspire you to tackle the summer tomato mother-load from your garden or will inspire you to take those plastic bags full of tomatoes offered to you by your gardening neighbors and friends!

“Bring your family to the table and change a life one meal at a time!”

Buon Appetito~


*For more recipes, visit the “Recipe” page in the  “Italian Pantry” here on Beyond the Pasta.

About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.