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Recipes: Fresh, Seasonal & Simple

Celebrated award-winning chef Luca Ciano has designed the menu for the ‘Longest Tomato Lunch’ for the past 4 years. Luca has shared three delicious recipes from his book Luca’s Seasonal Journey also featured in past menus from the Longest Tomato Lunch: a fresh tomato soup, an orecchiette pasta salad and a mixed tomato and goats cheese tart. The confit cherry tomato bruschetta was a highlight of the 2020 menu.  

Recipe: Mixed Tomatoes and Red Onion Tart with Goat’s Cheese and Basil

Torta salata con pomodori, cipolla rossa, caprine e basilico

Serves 4-6
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced 1cm
1 punnet heirloom tomatoes, quartered
3 eggs
100ml cream
30ml milk
30g parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Salt and pepper
20g unsalted butter, room temperature
3 sheets puff pastry
100g goat’s cheese
10 basil leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C
  2. Add a little oil to a frying pan and sauté red onions until golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for only 2 minutes. Season to taste and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs with cream and milk, then add the parmigiano reggiano and season.
  4. Brush inside a cake tin (18-20cm) with butter. Press pastry into the tin and cut off any excess.
  5. Place a small amount of red onions and tomato mix, goat’s cheese and basil in each tartlet. Pour in the egg mix (it should be ¾ up the side of the dish). Cook tart in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature with fresh basil leaves scattered over the tart.

Fresh Tomato Soup with Garlic, Fresh Oregano and Parmigiano Crostini

Zuppetta di pomodori freschi con aglio, origano fresco e crostini al parmigiano
Serves 4
Prep 20 mins plus 15 mins chilling
Cook 5 mins
12 vine ripened tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 scallion (spring onion), chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
90ml extra virgin olive oil
2 slices ciabatta, focaccia or sourdough bread, cubed
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Oregano leaves, fresh
  1. Place tomatoes, scallion, garlic and 60ml of oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Season to taste. Chill for 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan on high. Add the bread and cook for 5 minutes, tossing so that the cubes are golden and crisp on all side. Remove from heat.
  3. Add dried oregano and parmigiano Reggiano and toss gently, until cheese softens slightly.
  4. Pour soup into bowls and top with warm parmigiano crostini and oregano leaves to serve.

Recipe: Orecchiette Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Rocket, Basil and Salted Ricotta

Orecchiette alla crudaiola con pomodorini, ruccola, basilico e ricotta salata
Serves 4
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 12 minutes
350g orecchiette pasta
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 sprigs basil leaves, washed and torn
1 scallion (spring onion), thinly sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 fresh chili, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls rocket leaves, washed
60g salted ricotta, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Bring plenty of water to the boil in a large pot (1 ½ tsp of rock salt to 1L of water for 100g pasta). When boiling, drop in the pasta and stir. Cook pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, basil, scallions, cherry tomatoes, celery and chili. Season to taste. When the pasta has cooked, drain and toss into the bowl.
  3. Allow the pasta to absorb all the juices then add rocket and salted ricotta. Stir well to combine and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe: Confit cherry tomato bruschetta, spicy n’duja, caramelized figs, Persian feta, white balsamic & fig dressing

Serves 10 

500g cherry tomatoes on truss (ripe) 
1 garlic bulb 
4 sprig fresh thyme 
150g persian feta  
10 slices ciabatta bread, 1cm thick grilled or toasted 
20g n’duja 
5 figs, cut into quarters 
100g icing sugar 
100ml extra virgin olive oil 
100ml ‘Chef Luca Ciano’ White balsamic, fig, extra virgin olive oil dressing  


  1. Lay tomato onto a large tray, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, dust with 50g icing sugar, add garlic, fresh thyme and season. Cover with foil and cook at 160c for 45min or till tomatoes are soft.  
  1. Remove tomato from tray and save all juices 
  1. Lay figs onto a large tray, dust with remaining icing sugar and blowtorch till caramelized or place under a hot grill for 3-4min.  
  1. Drizzle ciabatta with oil and salt and pepper, char grill. 
  1. To serve, on 1 slice of bread spread n’duja then add tomatoes with tomato juices, then 2 pieces of figs, Persian feta and white balsamic fig dressing 

Preserving Tomatoes: tips from The Diggers Club 

Summer offers an abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs suitable to preserve and use throughout the rest of the year. Tomatoes are a classic choice, but you can also preserve a wide variety of other garden favourites. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your peak summer harvest.  

Tomato preserving is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Passata Day is traditionally held in January throughout Australia, although up North this may be closer to the middle of the year. An Italian tradition, it typically involves deseeding, chopping, boiling, and jarring passata for use throughout the year... and it’s followed by a delicious lunch, of course. But don’t be confined to passata as your only means of preserving tomatoes. Tomatoes can be bottled whole, chopped or blended, they can be dehydrated or semi-sundried and preserved in oil, they can be made into tomato sauce (as in ketchup, not pasta sauce), and even reduced to a thick paste. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to enjoy a few fresh too! 

Tomato Preserving Tips 

One of the simplest ways to preserve tomatoes using the Fowlers Vacola system is to roughly chop your ripe tomatoes and press them down firmly into a clean dry jar. Fill to about 1.5cm from the top and place a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice on the surface. Place the ring on the jar and firm down the lid with a Vacola clip. Bring to temperature slowly and maintain system at 92 degrees for 45-90 minutes depending on the size of your jars. 

Remove to cool and then store in a cool, dark, dry cupboard. 

For more information from The Diggers Club on preserving other fruits and vegetables click here

If you love risotto, click below for a simple step by step demonstration with Luca.

If you want to explore more of Luca’s recipes click here. Stay in touch @cheflucaciano.