I realize I am probably in the minority on this topic, but until recently, I had never eaten a sun-dried tomato. <gasp> I love tomatoes, fresh, juicy and succulent, right off the vine in the garden, and even canned when I’m cooking. Somehow, the craze that has swept the nation, eating our tomatoes sun dried, had eluded me. Fortunately, the generous folks at Mooney Farms remedied that situation, when I reviewed products from their Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes collection. Look at the wide variety of what I received to test.
Being the huge tomato fan that I am, I started searching out recipes, immediately. There are tons of them that add sun dried tomatoes directly to a salad. I have to tell you that I was not a fan, when they were used this way. Something about the dry, chewy texture just doesn’t work for me, when my brain thinks “tomato”. The flavor was fairly strong and more bitter than fresh tomatoes, which actually surprised me, since drying fruits usually concentrates the sugars. But, no worries. There are far more interesting recipes than salads and all I learned is that I won’t necessarily eat sun dried tomatoes, straight from the bag.
I decided to explore the recipes on the Mooney Farms website and was delighted with the selection I found there. I decided I was going to try the Sun Dried Tomato Vermicelli, but hearty it up for my favorite carnivores. 🙂 That was easy enough to do by adding browned Italian Sausage. A few bell peppers for flavor and color, and it was a pretty and tasty one-dish meal.
I cannot express strongly enough, how much I loved the jarred varieties of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in olive oil. The flavors were so rich and lended themselves perfectly to cooking wonderful, savory dishes. Just opening the jars created an aromatic sensation that made me want a bite! Love, love, love these! I wholeheartedly recommend that you visit the Mooney Farms website and check out all the fabulous products available — sun dried tomatoes in every imaginable form, olive oils and fantastic gift baskets. (I think their “Dinner for Two” gift basket would be such a neat bridal shower gift! ) The site is educational, beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photography and chock-full of recipes you’ll be anxious to try.
- 2 (8.5 oz) jars Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Pure Olive Oil & Herbs, drained and chopped (Reserve the drained oil)
- ½ Cup Reserved Oil From Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 1 lb dry spaghetti, broken up
- 1 small Onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese-Grated
- 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings, browned & drained
- 1½ bell peppers (I used ½ each of orange, yellow & green), diced
- Brown and drain Italian sausage. Set aside.
- In a large pot heat reserved olive oil until it begins to smoke.
- Add spaghetti and sauté until golden brown, stirring constantly. DO NOT walk away from this process! Your spaghetti will burn in seconds, once it has started to brown. Also, don’t skip this step. the lightly toasted pasta has a nutty flavor that adds real depth to the dish. The dark brown, burnt pieces, not so much. :) I had to fish a few out, because I didn’t watch closely enough.
- Add sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Add the Italian sausage, diced peppers and onions and heat for 1 minute more. I love the added texture and color of the veggies when they are just heated through/tender crisp. If you like them softer, allow just a few more minutes cooking time.
- Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately.
Here’s how I did it.
- Brown and drain Italian sausage and set aside.
Heat reserved olive oil in a large pot until smoking. Then break spaghetti noodles into the oil and stir constantly while browning.
Add the sun dried tomatoes, chicken stock, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.
- Once the pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until pasta has absorbed most of the liquid (about 15 minutes).
- Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed, stir in the Italian sausage, peppers and onions. Continue cooking over low heat for one or two minutes until the veggies are heated through and tender-crisp.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese or save on the dishes and serve it right from the pan!
I also made a tasty snack/appetizer that was so simple, it was hard to believe how delicious it was. I love salted bagel crisps with just about anything on them. I used the Bella Sun Luci Bruschetta and the Tomato Pesto, spread onto a bagel crisp, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese slices and broiled until the cheese was bubbly and melted. Garnish with some fresh basil or any herbs you have on hand. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, the day I made them, but I used some sea salt, fresh black pepper and dry Italian seasoning on top of the cheese. They couldn’t be simpler or more delicious and my kids can’t get enough of them! They’re like little baby cheese pizzas.
I can’t wait for you to try your own delicious sun dried tomato products from Mooney Farms! One of you will win an assortment for your own kitchen in our giveaway and entry is super simple! And for the rest of us, there’s a printable $1.00 coupon at the Mooney Farms site.
You must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, June 19, 2011.
In a comment below, tell me the title of a recipe from Mooney Farms you would most like to try.
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I received the selection of Bella Sun Luci products detailed above in order to test them and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own. Giveaway prize will be shipped directly to winner by Mooney Farms.