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Vivian Howard’s Tomato Pie

Recipe Credit:
Image Credit: Juliette “Jette’ Rouse

This recipe appears in the “Tomatoes: You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey” episode of A Chef’s Life, featuring chef Vivian Howard.

Vivian Howard’s Tomato Pie

A savory summertime Tomato Pie made with tomatoes, basil, onion and cheese baked in a pie crust until golden and bubbly. This is the perfect recipe for using up your excess fresh garden tomatoes! Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love this delicious tomato pie.


  • 1 Pie crust, store bought or homemade, blind baked
  • [For The Filling]
  • 7 cups total seeded and diced fresh tomatoes, separated into 3 & 4 cups
  • 4 medium yellow onions
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 Cup picked basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • [For The Topping]
  • 1/3 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 Cup grated Fontina
  • 1/2 Cup mayo


Step 1: For The Diced And Drained Tomatoes – Seed and dice about 3 cups fresh, high-quality tomatoes. Toss them with a little kosher salt and sugar. Set over a colander while you prepare the remaining ingredients, if possible. If not, drain for a minimum of an hour. You should be left with about 2 cups of tomato.

Step 2: For The Roasted Tomatoes – Seed and dice 4 cups fresh, high-quality tomatoes. Toss them with olive oil (at Chef & The Farmer we use garlic oil), plenty of kosher salt, and several sprigs of thyme. Spread this mix out on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be dry and slightly caramelized, but not burnt around the edges.

Step 3: For The Onions – Peel and slice (with the grain) 4 medium yellow onions. In a large sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of butter. Add the onions and season them with salt. Let the onions simmer and become juicy. Once the situation becomes a bit drier and much of the onion liquid has cooked out, turn down the heat to its lowest setting and settle in for a long, slow caramelize. To get these onions where they need to be, it could take about 2 hours. You are looking for a medium brown, sweet caramelization.

Step 4: Assembling The Filling – Combine the onions, fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Keep in mind, the tomatoes take a lot of seasoning to really make them shine in applications like this.

Step 5: Bake And Serve – Spread the filling over the bottom of a blind-baked crust. Flatten the topping between wax paper or use your good ol’ hands to create a 1/3 inch thick round of delicious, cheesy topping that spreads nearly to the edges of the pie. Bake at 375 degrees until the top is nicely browned…20-25 minutes. Serve at just over room temperature.