Roasted Tomato Sauce
When I was young, I didn't know my way around the kitchen. I rarely cooked, ate like crap, my skin was always broken out, smoked too many cigarettes and drank way too much whiskey. I wasn’t interested in balance or nourishment or really started appreciating the healing beautiful colorful bounty of food, until my late 20s.
I don’t come from a food-centric family either, which may or may not have had something to do with it. My parents have many many creative passions but cooking ain’t one of them. They like eating healthy food, don’t get me wrong, but they prefer to have someone else cook for them so they can conventionally reheat and warm up in the microwave. They even have some garden beds at their house growing vegetables, but every time I go to visit and ask what is growing in their garden, they look at me with blank stares as if to say, “we still have a garden?”
They both have a few recipes up their sleeve that they busted out from time to time though. My father taught me the recipe for his “homemade” tomato sauce at an early age which I loved it at the time. His recipe consisted only of two ingredients - pouring an entire jar of Prego Tomato sauce in a pot and then (here was the secret) chopping in a fresh tomato so "people will think that it is homemade.”
I’ll admit, I happily and proudly worked that "homemade" sauce into my innocent young adult days many a time. Thank you for that one Pop. But, now that I know a thing or two about a thing or two in the kitchen - I make my own sauce. And, nowadays picking my own tomatoes from our garden, takes this recipe to a whole new amazing level. (Of course, you can use any tomatoes you have on hand too!)
No judgement for those of you who don’t like to cook, obviously. That is why there is chocolate and vanilla and everything else in-between. It’s just, I LOVE to cook. I could not imagine my life without it. It is a part of my daily existence and fills me on so many nourishing levels. And I have recently learned it’s not only the cooking but the harvesting that really gets me too. Spending hours in the garden has brought a deeper connection to the cycle of life, appreciating how much it takes to actually grow crops, savoring the moments before the season is gone and igniting my creativity by challenging new ways of cooking with the abundance. From the gardens to the kitchen to the table. A thrilling experience. I am genuinely in awe of this edible wonderland we are creating at Noci. Ok, now back to the recipe.
Let's me reassure you too, dear readers, making your own homemade tomato sauce is ridiculously easy. Seriously. Especially this one. I mean, you don't have to blanch or peel or seed or sauté or even cut the damn things. You just throw them into a large baking dish, drizzle some olive oil, sea salt and walk away.
This is a recipe I have made countless times. Especially as this glorious tomato season is nearing its end. To some of you this recipe may sound familiar as I have posted it before and I give you a friendly nudge to either finally make it or make again, and to the others not familiar - you’re welcome.
It’s not fussy, it’s super rustic and freaking delicious.
Now, there is no measuring to be had here so hold your panties. Those of you that need to stick to a written recipe, this is a perfect opportunity to get over yourself and loosen up.
You with me, here we go.
Turn your oven on to 375. Wash and stem your tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are my favorite for this, but I have had equal success with a bunch of heirlooms or San Marzano or Roma or a combination of any tomato I have lying around.
Dump them into a deep roasting pan, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with some coarse sea salt, toss in ahead of separated (yes leave the skin on!) garlic cloves and a few leaves of fresh basil. Add a few generous pinches of raw sugar and a dash or two of red chili flakes. Or dried hot pepper if you desire.
Throw it in your preheated degree oven uncovered for about an hour or so, or until all your tomatoes are bubbly and broken down. If your sauce seems too juicy, you can (carefully!) pour everything into a pot and reduce on the stove top over a medium-high flame. You can also if you should desire a smooth sauce - remove the chili pepper (if using), the garlic cloves and basil before you blend in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth.
That’s it. Boom. Done done done. Use immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, and it freezes beautifully too.
SO, boil some pasta up, toss some of your roasted tomatoes in with your pasta, freshly grated pecorino cheese, a few chopped up basil leaves, a drizzle more of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Or use it as a pizza sauce or serve alongside some roasted vegetables or grain or meat or whatever you like. Just make it. I have a feeling it will be on your summer rotation too.