This roasted tomato sauce is a nice change from commercial jarred sauces. Roasting fresh tomatoes brings out their natural tangy, sweet notes. For complex flavors, use two or more types of tomatoes. Roma tomatoes have tangy garden-fresh flavor with dense flesh and are an excellent choice for sauces. Pair Roma tomatoes with the sweeter cocktail or cherry tomatoes or fresh grape tomatoes. Use heirloom tomatoes for their rich flavor and interesting color.
The ingredients in this sauce can easily be altered to suit your taste. Instead of Italian seasoning, use 3/4 teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil and 1/4 teaspoon each of dried crumbled rosemary and dried thyme. If you aren't a fan of onions, feel free to omit them.
The sauce is an excellent vegetarian or vegan sauce or you can use it as a base sauce, adding browned ground meat or sausage. It's a great sauce to use in a layered lasagna or chicken Parmesan as well.
The recipe makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups of sauce, which is more than enough for 12 to 16 ounces of spaghetti, linguine, or bucatini. If you have a surplus of tomatoes, scale the recipe up and freeze the sauce in 1-pint containers.
- 3 pounds tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic (peeled, sliced)
- 1/2 cup onion or shallot (sliced)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons basil (chopped)
- Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Optional: 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Optional: 1 pound pasta (e.g., bucatini, spaghetti, linguine)
Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 325 F.
Cut the cores out of large tomatoes; slice or chop the tomatoes into 1-inch to 2-inch chunks.
Toss the tomatoes in a large bowl with the olive oil, sliced garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 1 hour.
Put the roasted tomatoes and seasonings through a food mill; this will eliminate the skins and most of the seeds to make a smooth sauce. If you don't have a food mill, process the mixture in a blender or food processor.
Transfer the tomato mixture to a large saucepan and add the basil. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, if using. Bring the sauce to a simmer; reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, if using; drain, but do not rinse. Toss the hot drained pasta with the sauce. Serve with garlic bread, if desired.
If not using immediately, pour the sauce into containers or jars with lids. Refrigerate the sauce and use within 3 days or store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- The tomato sauce freezes beautifully, but it will expand when frozen, which can shatter a glass jar. When freezing sauces in glass jars, a wide-mouth jar with no shoulder is the best choice. Let the sauce cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then fill the jars, leaving at least 1 to 2 inches of headspace. If you use a jar with a shoulder, leave 1 to 2 inches of space below the shoulder. Or, if you want to make sure the jar won't break, fill it, and freeze the sauce without the lid. When frozen solid, put the lid on and return the jar to the freezer.