I’m a huge fan of tomato soup. Not the condensed kind in a can (it tastes too Spaghetti-O-ish) and not a heavy bisque with tons of cream. Just a simple tomato soup with hearty curshed tomatoes, fresh basil, and maybe some milk to smooth out the flavors. My mom gave me a great recipe that is just as easy as making condensed soup but tastes three hundred times better.
When we were given the opportunity to test this Tomato Pie recipe from Ron Finamore’s Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day, I thought it sounded like the best part of all worlds. Tomatoes, basil, cheese, and a buttery crust. Yum.
When we test recipes, we are typically trying to make sure that 1) the recipe works as written, 2) the recipe isn’t extremely complex to follow in a normal kitchen, and 3) the recipe produces something yummy to eat (isn’t that the point of cooking?) that is also visually appealing. No one wants to eat a blob of ugly food. Unless you like eating at Hometown Buffet, ha ha!
You’ll actually see my notes at the bottom of the recipe page, which also include my grumbles. Most recipes on Leite’s Culinaria are also available as a formatted and easy-to-print .pdf, so I do recommend you do so with this Tomato Pie and then stick it with your other recipe pages. This is also my way of saying I’m not going to re-type the ingredients and instructions here.
Peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes is a royal pain, but it makes for a better product, so either take the time to do it or don’t complain to me if you’re unhappy with your pie. It was the middle of summer when I did the testing, so I absolutely had to both refrigerate the dough and work fast when rolling it out. Don’t be scared of the mayo – it melts into the cheese and tomatoes and you won’t even know it’s there. You will know, however, if you opt to leave it out.
Based on our testing comments (and notes that got posted), you can expect your crust to get soaked by the tomato juices. On one hand, you can omit the bottom crust and just bake a top crust, but then you miss out on crusty goodness. I don’t mind the soggy crust (I prefer to think of it as a moistened bread layer) because it’s not soggy with water, it’s full of tomato flavor. Obviously, using the best fresh tomatoes will give you a tastier pie, but because it’s being baked and smothered with cheese and basil, you could get away with winter supermarket tomatoes. Just try and get vine-ripened or Romas and not the huge pink mealy ones.
Served hot with a light salad, it is perfect in the summer. Served with green beans and maybe sweet potatoes, it is comforting in the fall when you can still remember the delightful summer. It reheats beautifully the next day but is equally tasty at room temperature and maybe even snuck directly from the fridge. It is just good.