Jersey No-Cook Pasta Sauce

All summer long, I’ve been covering the Blackwood Farmer’s Market for the Gloucester Township Patch. It has been pretty much a dream, combining two of my favorite things: food and writing. 

One of my favorite things is finding out everyone’s favorite recipes. One of the weekly vendors, Dave Monteleon Farms, is always bursting with tomatoes, fairy tale eggplant, beets, corn, peppers, peaches, basil and everything under the Jersey Summer Sun.  Doris Monteleon shared her favorite summer pasta recipe.

The recipe uses Juliet tomatoes, which sort of look like mini-plum tomatoes. You can truly use any tomato you like–I used Juliets plus a few tomatoes from our own backyard garden. To my recipe, I tossed in a few cloves of fresh garlic (Doris did not include this ingredient in her original recipe).

This sauce is bursting with garden goodness–you can taste the sunshine and the rain in every bite. It sort of makes you believe that miracles do happen–after all those tomatoes just started with a tiny seed in a green house way back in the dark days of winter.

The leftovers (if you have any) are great cold. I am eating some right now. ( :


The goodies:
1 pint Juliet tomatoes, plus 2 or 3 medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
handful of fresh basil
3 T. olive oil
salt/pepper
1 pound curly pasta noodle, such rigatoni or cellentani
1 ball fresh mozzarella, diced

 The work:
1. Quarter the smaller Juliet tomatoes and coarsely chop the larger tomatoes. Place in a large bowl.
2. Grate or mince garlic. Coarsely chop fresh basil. Combine garlic, basil, tomatoes, olive and salt/pepper.
3. While the tomatoes mixture is sitting, cook pasta according to package instructions.
4. Drain cooked pasta. Add mozzarella to tomato mixture.  Top the pasta with the cheese/tomato mixture. The cheese melts, the tomatoes release a little juice and the basil sings.

It is THAT good!

South West Jersey No-Tortilla Soup

This soup is heavenly.
My biggest complaint about tortilla soup: often the chicken on top is an after thought. It is either leftovers (I am not really a fan) or rotisserie chicken.
I have been been dreaming of sweet, juicy, pristine shreds of chicken on top of a spicy, veggie filled soup forever.
And finally, my South West Jersey No-Tortilla Soup. As the name implies, there are no tortillas (although feel free to add). And I used lots of local fresh ingredients–local white onion, a prehistorically gigantic zucchini (courtesy of Miranda), fresh Jersey corn, backyard garden cilantro, a Duffield’s jalapeno, local honey from High Trail Honey and Jersey Fresh canned crushed tomatoes (a pantry staple around here).
The poached chicken is juicy and tender. Use leftovers (i can dig these leftovers) the next day for chicken salad or a wrap.
It all comes together in under an hour (I swear, and in my hour, I had a dog and a 5 year old, helping).
And not to get too Next Food Network Star, but MGD Lemonade is the perfect beer pairing for this unconventional summer soup.

For the soup:
  • Honey and Lime Poached Chicken, shredded, broth reserved(recipe below)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cups (approx) reserved stock from poached chicken
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 ears of grilled corn, cut from cobs (if you don’t have it grilled, just use cooked)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 green onion, sliced
1. Prepare poached chicken. Reserve stock.
2. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat.
3. Add veggies in layers. First carrots, for about 3 minutes, then onion, garlic and peppers. Last, add zucchini. Cook together until soft, about 7 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, stock and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
5. Stir in corn.
6. Serve it up: top with avocado, shredded chicken, cilantro, green onion and a little sprinkle of lime zest.
Honey and Lime Poached Chicken
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp. dried cilantro (or 3 T. fresh, chopped)
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 lb thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts
1. Whisk all ingredients (except for the chicken breasts) together in a large pot.
2. Bring to a boil; add chicken.
3. Reduce heat, poach until chicken is cooked through 4 minutes.
4. Use tongs to remove chicken. Reserve poaching liquid. Shred chicken.