Summer time the tomatoes are fresh ripe from garden, searching for great recipe to utilize them. The Tomato Bacon Cheese Casserole is perfect way to enjoy the summer bounty of tomatoes. The casserole captures the juicy tomatoes, with crisp bacon and grated Wisconsin Cheeses. To hold all these flavors together with macaroni pasta, and season with fresh herbs.
Choosing the best tomatoes:
Fresh tomatoes that are totally ripe are best choice, if possible ripen them on the vine. The green to yellow strips in tomato have a more citrus flavor profile, where the totally red tomato will be sweeter and super juicy. The tomatoes that have started to ripen on vine picked a little early will ripen if kept at room temperature with sun light. These tomatoes that are ripen off the vine will not be quite as sweet as ones ripen on the vine. The biggest challenge of vine ripening is little critters that love ripe tomatoes and starting eating them. Aka the ground squirrel, we call chippies. When using this recipe pick the totally ripe tomatoes that have good red color.
After choosing right tomatoes, wash each of them removing all dirt and debris off each tomato. Next start a saucepan filled two thirds full of water boiling. Remove the core of tomatoes where the stem attaches to the tomatoes. Then cut an X with pairing knife on bottom of tomato, known as blossom end. Plung the tomatoes into boiling water for about 90 seconds. This will loosen skins of the tomato. Then dip them into ice water bath to shock tomatoes which should loosen skins. Using fingers peel off tomato skins. Try starting where the cut x is to easy grasp the tomato skins. Peell all the tomatoes skins off the tomatoes.
For love of Bacon:
Bacon is the perfect complement to the fresh tomatoes. The flavors of cooked bacon takes the tomato casserole to all new levels of tastiness. Cooking bacon is easy task, by laying out bacon strips onto sheet tray and sprinkle with brown sugar, fresh grind black pepper. The baking in 350°F oven until crisp, for about 15 minutes. Remove the bacon onto some paper towels to absorb excess grease. Reserve some of the bacon fat for cooking casserole ingredients later.
Which pasta should I use today?
Choosing a pasta can be very challenging, picking right pasta for your needs with lots of options. Select an extruded pasta that uses a brass die. This pasta has more texture for juices of tomatoes to cling. The typical store pastas have smooth surface, which sauces don’t cling to pasta very good. Where the shape of the pasta makes a difference.Because pasta that has the more surface area will have the ability to hold more sauce. Below are some artisanal pasta shapes by Barilla.
- A dome shaped pasta that has outside ridges is called COLLEZIONE ORECCHIETTE
- Great pesto pasta or cheese sauce pasta with s shape twist is called COLLEZIONE CASARECCE
- Try tube shaped pasta with ridges for baked casserole pastas is called COLLEZIONE PENNE
- Large tube pasta with ridges is called COLLEZIONE RIGATONI
Selecting the right cheeses is important task. Making the right choices are important, start off with a good melting cheese. Choose good cheddar cheese, provolone, mozzarella, fontina and processed cheeses all melt well. The process cheeses will help keep a nice smooth texture. A mixture of variety of cheeses gives casserole more depth. Try using block cheeses and shred the cheeses yourself. The pre shredded cheeses have anti caking ingredients, like cornstarch or modified food starch, keeping the shredded cheeses from clumping together. These extra Ingredients effects the consistency when melting into casserole sauce. The goal is to have wonderful overall flavor profile that ends well on one’s palate.
Add some chilies into Bacon Tomato Cheese Casserole just amps up the flavors without loosing profile. Choosing the right chilies is matter of preference. Start with milder chilies like Hatch Green Chilies and Anaheim Chilies great flavor and not too hot. Fresh chilies do have to be processed which takes some extra effort. Below guides through the process of preparing chilies.
Building Tomato Bacon Cheese Casserole:
- Blanch and peel tomatoes then dice tomatoes.
- Peel and mince garlic cloves.
- Peel and dice onions
- Blister red and green chilies, wrap in foil to rest for 10 minutes, scrub off blister chili skins. Scrap seeds off chilies using pairing knife, then dice chilies
- Boil pasta for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente (to the tooth), drain cooking liquid.
- Shred cheeses. Note put block cheeses into freezer for 10 minutes to firm up, they will shred better.
- Prepare bacon, first lay out the bacon onto sheet tray, then brush with maple syrup and grind fresh black pepper over bacon. Bake in 350°F oven until crisp about 15 minutes.
- Make the Tomato Bacon Cheese sauce by cooking onions, garlic with some olive oil, then add tomatoes and chilies and bring to boil. Add the shredded cheeses and stir over low heat until melted.
- Add the cooked pasta to Tomato Bacon Cheese sauce stirring until evenly mixed together.
- Place the casserole mixture in baker, sprinkle bacon bits over top, cover with foil or lid.
- Bake the Tomato Bacon Cheese Casserole for 35 to 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes remove lid to brown top.
- Let the casserole rest 10 to 15 minutes to set up.
- Serve as a side dish. Garnish with fresh herbs like dill sprigs, cilantro sprigs or basil leaves. And of course top with more cheeses, like parmesan or asiago cheese.