More tomatoes (part 2) Dried Gems and what is Involtini?

So as promised here is part two of what I am doing with my tomatoes.

This idea came after doing some fall cleaning and finding out I did in fact still have my very old food dehydrator.  When is say old , I mean this is like one of those first models of Ramco ( or whatever the name of the company was/is) that was sold only during infomercials. Yes , at one time in my past many, many years ago I remember sitting through an infomerical for a while watching and marveling at being able to make my own dried fruits, veggies and jerky.  The jerky never happened but the kids , when small, had a blast cutting up fruit and drying things. I remember them even experimenting with fruits to see what happened. Since I was a homeschool mama at the time I chalked it all up to learning and fun. One of my children use to check the dehydrator a lot to see if the treats were ready.

So when I found my old dehydrator and wondered if it worked my neighbor on cue brought over a large batch of tomatoes for us to use. I figured why not try it out and see if it works still. I mean no loss right? If it worked then I just saved us some good money on “sundried” tomatoes.

Into the kitchen I went.  I long ago lost the original book that when with my dehydrator and I went looking through all my handy dandy books on storing and stocking up on foods trying to find out what I should do to prep the tomatoes. I mean it wasn’t as easy as cutting them up and putting them on there was it?

Between my books and online sites I trust, I found some conflicting advice. You can either poach your tomatoes quickly in water and then dry off and put in the deyhdrator or you can just cut into chunks and pop them in there. It was hot the day I did this I might add so you can guess I went a la easy girl way.

I simply washed my whole tomatoes and dried them.  Next I cut them into large pieces that would fit comfortably on the trays of my dehydrator.  I put the lid on and left them alone.

Twenty-four hours later I checked them. I rotated the trays and checked them again later. It took close to 48 hours for my dehydrator to fully get them to that nice rubbery but full dry point. But we got there! It might have been the humidity in the air at the time that slowed it down.

Next I packed the dried little red gems into jars and added some oregano and basil. I topped them off with an olive oil , put the lid and now I am ready to use them in my favorite recipes. One to use them in is my Quinoa Salad.

Now last post I shared my lazy girl way I made a quick sauce/puree using my abundance of tomatoes. I thought we might be past the tomato gifts when my neighbor stopped by again with beautiful tray filled with more gems from their garden.  I was knitting and watching cooking shows and caught and episode of Extra Virgin and an episode called “Weekend on the Cheap”.  I knew what they were making but I was not familiar with the term “Involtini”.

Turns out Involtini is Italian for a small bite of food that has an outer wrapper, usually made of vegetables or meat and the filling can be cheeses, meats or veggies and nuts. Possibilities in my mind are endless.

Growing up this would have been called “stuffed ______”, fill in the blank. Usually cabbage though.

So here’s the recipe I used based on the tv show.


Involtini- pork & cabbage

  • 1 head of savoy cabbage
  • 1 lb of ground pork
  • 2 eggs , beaten
  • 1/2 of parm cheese
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion chopped. (half goes in sauce and half goes in meat mixture)
  • 2-3 tbs of bread crumbs
  • 1 quart of of lazy girl sauce (or favorite tomato sauce)
  • 3 tsp basil
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put a large pot of water on and bring to a boil. Pull off 12 leaves of the cabbage. When water has come to a boil, places cabbage leaves in and cook for 2 mins or so and then rinse in cold water. You may need to do this in batches. Set them to the side.
  2. In a bowl add ground pork, eggs, garlic, half of the chopped red onion, bread crumbs and a little salt and pepper to taste. Mix untill all ingredients are mixed together well.
  3. In  large pan or skillet, heat a little olive oil and cook onion for  mins add pepper flakes and give a good stir. Now pour in your tomato sauce and spice. Bring to a light boil and turn down to simmer. I also added a splash of red wine at this point but you don’t have to. I just happen to have some on hand to use.
  4. Lay leaves out flat and put about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture on each leaf. Roll the leaves up and tie with kitchen twine to hold them closed.
  5. Place the rolled and tied leaves into the skillet with the simmering tomato sauce. Put the lid on and cook for 30 mins. You will want to turn the leaves about every 10 mins or so.
  6. Serve the stuffed Involtini topped with sauce and parm and some crusty bread or a nice salad. Enjoy!




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