"Whatever your hands find to do, verily do it with all your might" Ecclesiastes 9-10

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The recipe

Some friends emailed me for those sun dried tomatoes recipe,
so I'll share my "secrets" with you.
Everything I know, regarding Italian cooking, comes from my sweet Mother-In-Law, Chiara, whom everyone named "La Nonna" (the grandmother).
La Nonna was a very simple woman from Southern Italy, mother of 6, and a genius, creative cooker who was aiming to feed her family with few money, but LOTS of taste.
As a young bride (37 years ago) I spent hours in her kitchen and have learned so much, from the basic ingredients, to her mantra :
"You need to cook joyfully and add a pinch of your heart !"
I consider as an honour to pass on what she taught me, from the basics, to comfort food and preserving, and I'm totally convinced that good cooking is part of happy family gatherings, and even a happy marriage !
Thinking about all this, I might consider creating a special file on my sidebar, under the label :
"Ricette della Nonna"
...what do you think ?

For approx. 4 x one pound jars
(you don't want to waste your time for one small jar only, do you ?)
Note : I prefer those smaller jars rather than big ones, as I will open them frequently, and also because the bottom would taste too hot in the end...
You will need :
1 liter (33 Fl.oz) good quality olive oil

1 liter (33 Fl.oz) white balsamic vinegar
(this is part of the secret : white balsamic vinegar will give that sweet taste, much less acid than with ordinary white vinegar. A little more expensive, but you won't regret it).

3 big garlic heads
(what would be Italian cooking without garlic ?)
finely chopped

A nice big parsley bouquet
finely chopped

1 kg (2.2 pounds) SUN dried tomatoes
(please don't use those oven dried tomatoes - there's a world difference in taste)

Your tomatoes will look like this : totally dehydrated and shrinked...
Important :
You will also need some small red hot chili peppers
finely chopped (don't touch your eyes with your fingers !)

How to :
1. You need to re-hydrate your tomatoes ---> put them in a big plate, and add the white balsamic vinegar. Let them "rest" for approx. 45 minutes, stirring from time to time (use your hand ! They're the best cooking tools, besides white vinegar will give you beautiful hands)...
2. Then you'll use your muscles and twist the tomatoes, so that you take off as much vinegar as possible...
3. Sit down, have a cuppa', and start unshrinking/opening each tomato piece. You want to get them nice and flat. Take your time, no rush, have FUN chit-chatting ;>)
4. Your jars are ready on the table (rinsed with boiling water and dried), with the rest of the ingredients (chopped parsley, chopped garlic, chopped hot peppers, olive oil)
5. You will work in layers, like this :
- a) some olive oil + a pinch of parsley + a pinch of garlic + a (small) pinch of red hot pepper
- b) 5 to 6 half tomatoes, gently arranged to cover that a) layer
- and on, and on..... from a) to b).... Pushing on the layers, from time to time (use your hand---> olive oil is sooo good to them)
You also want it to be nice looking, of course, eating begins with the eyes !
- Finish with one nice layer olive oil at the top of the jar.
Then comes the hardest part : you'll have to wait for one whole month, before tasting your "jewels" ! (Have a check during first week : tomatoes will "drink" a lot, and you might need adding some olive oil).
Use :
- We like them simple, to accompany Italian cooked meats and bread,
- or chopped and mixed with warm pasta + chopped black olives and parmiggiano (Hmmmmm!)
- Try them on warm roasted bread + cream cheese (to die for!)
- or with mozzarella slices and basil (close your eyes : you're in Italy ;>)
- finely diced and mixed with green crispy salad
- on pizzas,
- as appetizers, rolled around some mozzarella cheese,
Note : when your jar is empty, don't throw away that precious perfumed oil ---> use it on your pizzas, or in salads, or even on hot pasta + ruccola and cheese...


  1. Thank you. I will have to look for white balsamic vinegar. We have lots of the dark balsamic vinegar. One question: Do you store these in a closet or the refrigerator?

  2. Minka, I couldn't answer you directly, as you're set on "no-reply" comment...
    No refrigerator needed. Just store them in a dry closet.
    In case you can't find any white balsamic vinegar ---> use white wine vinegar, add one or two spoons sugar and heat it to bol. Then let it cool before using it.
    OK ?

  3. Sounds absolutely delicious!
    I vote YES for the "Ricette della Nonna" file on your side-bar!!
    We visited Venice a while back and fell in love with REAL Italian food! Bought back some orange balsamico, antipasto, etc, etc! Yummy!

  4. Yum yum Nadine! I can almost taste them! So lovely to read your post, what a well fed family you have!!.. xx

  5. Thank you so, so much for sharing! Will be out scouting ingredients and looking forward to your next posts! Yum, I'm drooling here!

  6. BRAVO!!!~ Great tutorial! Yes, to the sidebar! This is right up my alley in the way of... well, ALL OF IT! Especially the making do and putting the love in part! HUGS!!!!and smooches from afar!!! You are the best!!! I say a separate blog might be in order eventually! :)

  7. Thank you, you are a sweetheart to put the recipe up. I think it sounds wonderful. I've not seen white balsamic so I'm going to watch out for it. A special file sounds like a good idea.

  8. I can't stop myself from coming back to peek at those lovely jars and recipe! Will your family just adopt me...!!!

  9. Oh Yum Nadine!! Yum!!!
    This sounds so wonderful and I'm going to link to this on my blog if that's ok.

    Your MIL sounds like a real treasure just like you.
    I love her Mantra and think I eed to adopt this cooking mantra for myself.

    Thanks so much for sharing this... Yum!!!

    Robyn xxx


Thanks a bunch for your comments, they just make my day !