“Goddammit Joan, you’ve let me eat to the point of discomfort again,” said Jack Galiardo to his adoring wife Joan.
Jack and Joan are the baby boomer parents of my friend Chris Galiardo (actually Gagliardo before the second g was viciously removed at Ellis Island). A typical Irish-Italian New Jersey hybrid, Jack’s Italian mother trained Joan in the kitchen. Apparently she did a decent enough job, as the above quote was a common utterance at the family dinner table.
Despite their self-aggrandized sense of humor, the Galiardos remind me of the best of central New Jersey – farmland, Long Beach Island, and Princeton. And so when I saw the roadside produce sign for “Jersey Tomatoes,” nostalgia set in and I could not resist.
So whether you’re lazing the day away in Loveladies or on Nassau Street, grab some fresh Jersey Tomatoes and eat to the point of discomfort, again. And then blame someone else.
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Rinse the tomatoes under cold water. Remove the core and some seeds, and then cut into large bite-sized peices.
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in olive oil until golden. Add the tomatoes and stir together for a few minutes.Then add the basil leaves. Add salt to taste.
Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.
Drain, and mix into the skillet with the tomatoes.
Remove to a serving bowl and mix in the Pesto Genovese.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.
Pesto Genovese Recipe
2-3 cups basil leaves (preferably young and fresh), ½+ cup extra virgin olive oil, 6 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, sprinkle of salt,
Gently wash the basil in cold water and pat dry with a towel. Crush one clove of garlic in a mortar and add some basil (30 leaves per clove), and then a sprinkle of salt. In a gentle circular motion, use the mortar to tear the basil until it turns into a bright green oily liquid. Repeat this process until all the basil and garlic are added. Add the pine nuts and gently crush them into the mixture. Next add the cheese. When the cheese is mixed in, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and mix together. The pesto is ready to use.