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Recipes: Fresh, Seasonal & Simple Multi-award-winning chef returns for Tomato Festival Sydney 2018

February 15, 2018 Events / Whats On No Comments Email Email

Celebrated 2 Michelin Star chef Luca Ciano has designed the menu for the ‘Longest Tomato Lunch’, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s food festival’s sell-out centrepiece event and will also showcase his talents in the ‘Cooking & Learning Hub’ on both Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 February.

The Longest Tomato Lunch’s fabulous 70- metre table for 250 guests will be laid under a shady marquee on the foreshore lawns with phenomenal views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, 12.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Luca’s menu includes share plates and individual items, replicating a traditional Italian family feast.

Luca will also be in the Tomato Festival Sydney’s ‘Cooking & Learning Hub’ at 2.45 pm on Saturday and 2.30 pm on Sunday where he will demonstrate how to make easy Italian dishes harnessing seasonal fresh produce.

Luca has shared three delicious recipes from his book Luca’s Seasonal Journey that will be part of his demonstration and also feature on the menu for the Longest Tomato Lunch: a fresh tomato soup, an orecchiette pasta salad and a mixed tomato and goats cheese tart.

“The key is to keep it simple and let the natural flavours of the fresh, seasonal ingredients shine through,” Luca said.

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.

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.

Bring the whole family for an inspiring harbourside food festival with something for everyone.
Other highlights of this year’s festival include some new features as well as festival favourites:

• Village market dedicated to local producers and artisans

• Free gardening talks and cooking demonstrations

• Relish pop-up café & bar

• Free Garden tours

• Children’s activities including Pizza Plants Adventure

• Harris Farm Markets Tomato Mandala

• Home-grown tomato competitions

• Free Diggers Heirloom Tomato Taste Test

• New: Film screening of Seed: The Untold Story SOLD OUT

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