SOURCE: Florida Tomato Committee

January 17, 2013 05:00 ET

Family-Friendly Recipes

From Florida Tomato Growers

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2013) - (Family Features) The best way to get the whole family to eat better is with recipes using fresh, flavorful ingredients. These recipes use fresh Florida tomatoes, which are available nationwide, in delicious ways that even the kids won't be able to resist -- a savory tomato soup served in bread bowls; a satisfying pasta with tomato sauce; and fun, individual pita pizzas they can help make.

Get more family-friendly recipes like these at You can also sign up for The Dish, a free Florida tomato newsletter that covers all things tomato, like recipes, handling tips and trivia.

Table Talk
The more kids learn about the foods they eat, the more likely they are to eat it. Spark some dinnertime conversations with some fun and interesting facts about Florida tomatoes.

  • The conquistadors encountered tomatoes when they arrived in the New World. The Aztecs called them xitomatl.

  • The Italian word for tomato is pomodoro. In French, it's pomme d'amour. In Spanish, it's tomate.

  • Florida ships nearly 1 billion pounds of fresh tomatoes to the rest of the United States, Canada and other countries.

  • Botanically, the tomato is a fruit of the vine. In the kitchen, it's treated as a vegetable. In fact, in 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled, for the purpose of levying a tariff, that the tomato was a vegetable.

Get more fun facts and activities featuring Florida tomatoes at the Florida Tomato Kids Corner website, Developed by an educator, it has age-appropriate activities that promote general academic skills in fun and engaging ways.

Tomato Linguini Sauté  
Yield: 4 servings  
        2 pounds ripe Florida tomatoes
        1/2 cup olive oil
        1 lemon, zested and juiced
        1 pound whole-wheat linguini (or your favorite pasta)
        3 cloves garlic, minced
        1/2 bunch fresh basil, hand torn (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  Kosher salt to taste
  Fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash and rinse tomatoes. Dry tomatoes, then core and cut in half. Use a spoon to remove most of the seeds. Chop tomatoes coarsely. Add chopped tomatoes to a colander, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and let them sit so they can release some of their water. This should only take a half an hour and can be done ahead of time.

Combine drained tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic into a large sauté pan. Heat tomato mixture over low heat. The idea is to warm the mixture and not cook it.

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.

Put pasta in a bowl. Add fresh basil and Parmesan to pasta and toss. Taste for seasoning and adjust with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Dish pasta onto plates, and top with tomato mixture.

Serve warm with crusty bread, or chill for later.

Broiled Fresh Tomato Soup 
Yield: 4 servings 
        2 pounds Florida tomatoes
        3 medium onions cut into halves
        6 garlic cloves
        2 tablespoons olive oil
        1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
        1 teaspoon sugar
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
        1 can (13 ounces) ready-to-serve chicken broth
        4 large (5-inch) Kaiser rolls
        1 cup cubed Muenster cheese
  Basil or parsley for garnish

Use tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe; core and cut into halves. Preheat broiler.

On shallow pan, arrange tomato and onion halves cut side down. Place garlic cloves around vegetables.

In a cup, mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Brush over vegetables, coating completely. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat source until lightly charred, 10 to 15 minutes, removing garlic cloves as they brown and soften, and turning pan around for even cooking.

Turn vegetables over and broil until lightly charred and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Remove pan from broiler and cool; peel skins from tomatoes.

In food processor or blender, puree tomatoes, onions and garlic with pan juices until fairly smooth. Pour into medium saucepan; stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and keep warm.

To make bread bowls: preheat oven to 400°F.

Using sharp knife, cut off top of each roll. Pull out soft centers, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shells; discard soft bread. Reserve tops. Place bowls and tops on baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes, turning once.

To serve, place rolls in soup plates. Ladle hot soup into and around bowls. Top with cheese cubes. Garnish with basil or parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Fresh Vegetable Pita Pizza 
Yield: 4 servings 
        1 pound Florida tomatoes
        4 7-inch pita breads
        1 tablespoon olive oil
        2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
        1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
        2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
        1 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
        1 green pepper cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
        1 cup thinly sliced sweet red or white onion
  Crushed red pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Use tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe. Core and slice tomatoes; cut each slice in half.

Place pitas on 2 baking sheets; brush with oil.

Arrange tomato slices on each pita, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan and half of the Italian seasoning.

Bake until tomatoes are heated and pitas begin to crisp, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle tomatoes with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with zucchini, green pepper and onion. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Italian seasoning. Bake until cheese is melted and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve with crushed red pepper, and additional Parmesan, if desired.

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