A non-profit initiative of the Permaculture Education Institute & Morag Gamble

My Head To-ma-toes

by | February 25, 2021 | Permayouth | 0 comments

Nothing is more delicious than home-grown veggies and home-grown tomatoes eaten straight from the garden – still warm and tasting of sunshine is nothing short of addictive.

Tomatoes straight from the garden taste as tomatoes should taste. There is no better reminder of the importance of growing your own food or at least eating locally, and in season.

But it’s not just the fruit that excites our palate in our kitchen, it’s also the leaves. I often wonder that if colours could smell, surely green would be the scent of tomato leaves on your fingers. Heady and warm, the fragrance is delicious.

In our kitchen, we flavour pasta with everything from nettles and beetroot, to saffron and red wine. Even when mum prunes our fig tree we hang some fig leaves to dry and use them to make fig leaf fettuccine, but nothing is more exciting when served at the dinner table is tomato leaves used to flavour the pasta dough. The strong herbal aroma is so delicious my mouth waters as I am writing this. Out comes the secateurs to prune the cherry tomatoes, a bunch of tomato leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and basil, and a hand under the hens to collect freshly laid eggs. What more could I ask for?

(Pasta recipe adapted from Jenn Louis’ “The Book of Greens”)


– 180g tomato leaves, stripped from the stems to yield roughly 150g
– 2 – 3 large organic eggs, at room temperature
– 300g plain flour
– Semolina, for dusting

For the Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce:
– 700 – 800 g cherry tomatoes, halved
– 4 cloves garlic chopped finely
– 5 – 6 best quality anchovies
– 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
– sea salt and dried chilli flakes
– thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil
– 30 g butter
– basil or flat-leaf parsley
– Pecorino Romano to serve

1. Prepare the tomato leaves by blanching them in lightly salted boiling water for about two minutes, drain and plunge them into an ice bath to cool immediately. Squeeze out the excess moisture and add them along with two of the eggs to a food processor or blender. Pulse until the leaves are chopped very finely and the mixture is smooth.

3. Make a well in the flour, scrape in the egg mixture and mix with a fork to combine. If the mixture feels dry, whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon at a time until it comes together; if feels too wet, add a little extra flour.

4. Knead for about 8 – 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic piece of dough that springs back when you press on it with a finger. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours, at room temperature.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan-forced. Place the tomatoes, garlic and anchovies in a heavy-based saucepan that can go in the oven and drizzle over the oil. Season with sea salt dried chilli and add a couple of sprigs of thyme or oregano if you have them. Roast for an hour or so, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are very soft and beginning to caramelise in places.

6. Meanwhile, roll out and cut the pasta into strips. Dust with semolina to keep it from sticking and allow to dry a little until the sauce is ready. Remove the saucepan from the oven and stir through the butter.

7. Cook the pasta in plenty of well-salted, boiling water; when it is almost cooked, remove the pasta with tongs straight into the waiting pan of sauce allowing a little of the cooking water to go with it. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce and serve immediately on warmed plates with freshly torn basil and chopped flat-leaf parsley and some cheese.

8. Enjoy!

– By Eve Ballard


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