Come August, tomatoes are everywhere. They're falling out of bushels and off tabletops at farmers' markets and are in endless numbers of dishes at restaurants.
While many restaurants cook with tomatoes year-round, in the summer they often turn to fresh, local and in-season tomatoes because they know their dishes will be that much more flavorful.
At the new and widely loved restaurant Antica Pesa (115 Berry St., Williamsburg, 347-763-2635, anticapesa.com), which has been drawing celebrities from Madonna to Bill Murray and boasts a sister restaurant of the same name in Rome that's been open since 1922, tomatoes are all over the menu. And the sauce on the linguine is at its most fresh right now.
"The sauce is a family recipe," said co-owner Simone Panella. "We make [it] every summer when tomatoes are in season and keep it in jars to use throughout the winter."
This classic Italian dish is particularly exciting and tasty because not only does it call for both tomato sauce and pesto, but the preparation is slightly different from what you might expect.
"Baking the tomatoes instead of just cooking them in a pot gives the sauce a more interesting, roasted flavor," said Panella, who runs Antica Pesa with his brother Francesco.
The tomato is actually a fruit, and it is widely considered one of the best food items for you because of one nutritional component: lycopene, which is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants in existence. The richest source of lycopene in the diet is the tomato. Studies have shown lycopene can protect against prostate cancer, breast cancer, skin disease and urinary tract infections. Tomato consumption might also be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.