This week’s special pasta flavor – Tomatillo!

This week’s special flavor pasta is Tomatillo.   Tomatillos are a common ingredient in Mexican cooking. Thin, papery husks cover small, round, shiny green vegetables that are often mistaken for green tomatoes in supermarkets and produce stands. Tomatillos have a delightfully citrusy, acidic flavor that is commonly used in salsas and sauces – as in chile verde.  The vegetables are not related to tomatoes but are members of the nightshade vegetable family that also includes eggplant and potatoes.  It is said that Tomatillos date back to the time of the Aztecs as they are depicted in ancient drawings.  Enjoy this special and unusual pasta !


Heirloom Tomato Pasta! This weekend at PastaPresta

This week we are offering Heirloom Tomato pasta as our special flavor of the week.   What does it mean to say something is an heirloom?   Vegetables are sometimes referred to as “heirloom” or “heirloom variety.” An heirloom variety is any type of plant, or cultivar, that was grown in earlier times, before large-scale agriculture.   Why the current fascination with (and love of !) Heirloom vegetables ?

Heirloom plants have a large following among home gardeners, and organic gardeners in particular. Some of the most common reasons for growing heirlooms are:

  • Wider Variety. When you have access to plants that were grown by previous generations, you also get to experience the thrill of having a huge variety of plants available to you (one famous seed catalog offers 77 types of tomato seeds alone !). 
  • Better Flavor. In many cases, hybridizers have chosen properties like disease resistance and heavy yields over flavor. Fans of heirlooms will argue that many of the best tasting crops come from heirloom plants.
  • Bio-genetic Diversity. Plant species are dying out at an alarming weight. Heirloom gardeners, through growing and saving seeds of treasured crops, are ensuring that these plants won’t become extinct. In addition, keeping diversity in our food chain protects us against large plagues or crop failures.
  • Frugality. Growing heirlooms is a frugal way to have a bountiful garden. Each season, you can grow the crop, harvest the food, save the seeds, and store them to grow next year’s garden. If you save a lot of seed, you can even get involved in seed exchanges with other heirloom gardeners to get more diversity in your garden.

Growing heirlooms is a fun, educational experience that every organic gardener can try. Just don’t be surprised if you become hooked on heirlooms!