- Food and Cooking
Easy meals using tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil
Tomatoes, mozzarella & basil - three truly wonderful ingredients
Simple fresh tomatoes, lovely mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves make a fabulous variety of easy-to-make vegetarian meal ideas.
It may be just my opinion - although Italians do tend to agree with me - that a blend of the fabulous flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil is one of the most delicious food combinations.
What's more, this combination is remarkably healthy and works well if you're on a budget too. What makes it even better is if you grow tomatoes yourself, or have a friend or neighbour who has too many for their own needs. And everyone (even me!) can grow basil in pots. This is almost free food.
Really fresh basil makes a world of difference to your recipes and can easily be grown indoors.
My basil plants tend to die off occasionally and need to be replaced but they are very much worth it. One of the most common way to use this combination is on pizza - who really needs meat when you have a fantastic pizza?
One of the great things about pizza is that they cook quickly and can be made in no time at all. They are remarkably adaptable too.
You can buy pizza bases, buy ready-made dough or even make your own from scratch. Add a little tomato sauce when you cook the bases then add sliced tomato, and slices of mozzarella. Freshly ground black pepper is a great addition too.
Remember to garnish with loads of fresh basil.
Make your own pizza bases easily
I remember the days of starting with live yeast, pounding and kneading, leaving dough to rise for hours... now it's easy to have freshly baked bread in your home every day.
If you like to make your own pizza,then why not make your own pizza bases using a bread machine?
Oh, that smell of newly-baked bread!
Pasta is another great meal that you can make with this tasty and inexpensive combination.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the pack until al dente. Add diced tomato and once again, freshly ground black pepper which helps to bring out the tomato flavor. A few sliced black olives go well with pasta too.
Add sliced mozzarella, heat until the cheese is gooey and add fresh basil. This is a meal that takes about ten minutes to make and yet tastes like a gourmet restaurant recipe.
Make your own pasta
Just like making bread, making your own pasta used to be a time-consuming and laborious process.
That's not the case today as there are various tools that can help you serve delicious home made pasta to your family and friends.
I promise you that homemade pasta is so vastly superior to the dried kind you'll find at the supermarket. You can also experiment making flavoured gourmet pastas. These can be terribly expensive to buy ready made - simply create your own depending on your own tastes.
This is a real favorite, especially for lunch.
We use panini bread from our local Italian bakery but any good bread is fine too. Just make your sandwich using mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil.
If you have a panini maker or toasted sandwich machine, all you have to do is follow the directions. If you don't, then broil the sandwiches until the filling is warm and the cheese is melted. If you're really in a hurry, skip heating the sandwich - these are just as delicious uncooked. Use a great quality bread, juicy fresh tomatoes (organic if possible) and lots of fragrant fresh basil leaves.
Toast your panini
If I had to decide which tomato / mozzarella / fresh basil meal I like the most, then I'd probably vote for panini.
If you have a real panini press at home you can enjoy this wonderful meal - and many more tasty combinations - at any time. It's wonderful to experiment with different combinations and flavours.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson