It’s a seemingly humble ingredient but the fresh flavours of tomatoes play a key role in quintessential Italian cooking. Try these refreshing recipes for an easy, laid-back meal

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It’s a seemingly humble ingredient but the fresh flavours of tomatoes play a key role in quintessential Italian cooking. Try these refreshing recipes for an easy, laid-back meal

1 Ox heart tomatoes. 2 Yellow grape tomatoes. 3 Vine-ripened tomatoes. 4 Cherry truss tomatoes

Top Tomato Tips

Store tomatoes at room temperature out of direct sunlight for the best texture and flavour – try to buy just enough to use within a couple of days).

If you need to store them in the refrigerator to delay ripening, stand at room temperature for at least 30 mins before serving.

To peel tomatoes, score a cross in the skin on the end. Place tomatoes in a pan of simmering water; stand for 30 secs. Remove tomatoes from the water and place in a bowl of iced water. Remove the core with a small knife and peel away the skin.

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Prep & Cook 35 mins | Serves 4

500 g ripe tomatoes, chopped

2 medium zucchinis, chopped

2 cups coarse fresh sourdough breadcrumbs

1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

¼ tsp ground white pepper

4 x 150 g skinless snapper fillets

60 g butter, melted

Baby leaf salad, parsley and lemon wedges, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.

2. Combine the tomato and zucchini in the base of a medium baking dish; season generously with sea salt flakes and pepper.

3. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, rind and pepper in a shallow bowl. Press the breadcrumbs onto the fillets.

4. Arrange crumbed fillets over tomatoes and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with melted butter.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until fish is just cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets.

6. Serve fish with a baby leaf salad, parsley and lemon wedges.

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Prep 3 hrs 30 mins (+ Cooling) | Makes 16 + extra tomatoes

2 kg Roma tomatoes

1 bulb garlic

8 fresh thyme sprigs

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp caster sugar

16 thin slices ciabatta, toasted

½ cup (80 g) Kalamata olives, pitted

10 basil leaves

500 g fresh ricotta

Parsley leaves, to serve 

Extra virgin olive oil, extra

500 g fresh ricotta Parsley leaves, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 120 C.

2. Quarter the tomatoes lengthways; arrange over an oven tray, cut-side up.

3. Break the garlic into individual cloves and bruise each one with the side of a large knife. Add the garlic to the tray with the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Drizzle the oil and sprinkle the sugar. Season generously with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 3 hours or until tomatoes are crinkled. Remove from the oven; cool.

4. Put eight of the tomato pieces into a small food processor with the olives and 6 basil leaves. Squeeze the garlic out of four of the cloves; add to the olive mixture. Process to a chunky paste.

5. Serve the toasted bread with the tomato and olive paste, ricotta, tomato pieces and parsley. Drizzle a little oil over each, if desired.

6. Transfer remaining tomatoes to a clean glass jar, layering with the fresh basil leaves and four of the roast garlic cloves. Pour over the extra oil until all the tomatoes are covered.

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Prep & Cook 20 mins | Serves 4

2 tbsps sesame seeds

2 tsps sea salt flakes

800 g small to medium ox heart tomatoes (or vine-ripened tomatoes)

2 tbsps lemon juice

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

4 (520 g) Japanese cucumbers

1 bunch reed radish, trimmed

1 small (100 g) red onion, sliced finely

2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup fresh mint leaves

150 g creamy feta

1. Place sesame seeds and salt in a small frying pan. Cook, stirring, over a medium heat until seeds are a deep golden brown and aromatic. Remove from heat; cool. Transfer to a small food processor. Process until finely ground; transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out the food processor bowl.

2. Cut tomatoes into quarters; scoop out seeds with a teaspoon. Put half the tomato seeds into food processor; add lemon juice and oil. Process to a smooth puree; season to taste with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Cut the remaining tomato flesh into 5-mm pieces. Cut the cucumber and radishes to a similar size.

4. Combine tomato, radish, cucumber, and onion in a serving bowl. Add tomato puree and season to taste with sesame salt. Toss to combine, then gently fold through the herbs. Crumble the feta over the top.

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You can use bocconcini instead of the buff alo mozzarell a.


Prep & Cook 35 mins | Serves 4

375 g ready-rolled butter puff pastry, thawed following pack instructions

100 g thinly sliced prosciutto

250 g tomato medley, halved or quartered

125 g buff alo mozzarella, torn into pieces


1 tbsp finely chopped green olives

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind 

15 basil leaves, shredded finely

2 tsps finely chopped fresh oregano

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.

2. Place two sheets of puff pastry on the tray; prick all over with a fork. Lay prosciutto over the pastry to cover the surface then top with a second piece of baking paper and another tray. Bake on lower shelf for 20 mins or until golden brown. Remove top tray and baking paper; bake for a further 5 mins or until prosciutto is crisp.

3. GREEN SAUCE Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl; season to taste.

4. Transfer the tart to a serving plate. Top with the tomatoes; season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over with the Green Sauce and scatter torn pieces of mozzarella cheese.

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Top Tomato Tips

To seed a tomato, cut in half crossways. If it’s to be used in a sauce or cooking, you can squeeze the tomato gently to remove seeds. If you don’t want to damage the flesh, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.

Use a very sharp knife or a serrated knife to cut tomatoes.


Prep & Cook 30 mins (+ Cooling) | Serves 4

1½ cups (300 g) French-style lentils, rinsed, drained

1 bay leaf

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

2 small (200 g) red onions, sliced finely

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

500 g cherry tomatoes, halved

2 sticks celery, sliced finely

1 bunch cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage), trimmed, sliced finely

Mache lettuce and mixed cress, to serve 

1. Cook lentils and bay leaf in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 20 to 25 mins or until just tender. Drain; discard bay leaf.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin; cook for 1 min or until aromatic. Add the garlic and onion; cook stirring occasionally, for 15 mins or until the onion is soft. Add the drained lentils and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 mins. Remove from heat, season to taste. Cool.

3. Layer the lentil mixture with tomatoes, celery and cavolo nero on a platter. Top with mache and cress.

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Prep & Cook 25 mins (+ Standing) | Serves 4

1 kg vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped finely

3 large fresh basil leaves, sliced finely

1 tbsp drained baby capers

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil 

400 g spiral (or Fusilli) pasta

⅔ cup (50 g) finely grated Parmesan

Handful small fresh basil leaves, to serve

1. Combine the tomatoes, sliced basil, capers and garlic in a bowl with the oil. Season generously with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Stand 20 mins.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water until just tender; drain. Return pasta to the pan.

3. Strain liquid from tomatoes over the pasta and add half the Parmesan. Toss to coat the pasta then add the tomatoes. Divide between warm bowls; top with the remaining Parmesan and basil leaves. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil.