A grocery-store jar of spaghetti sauce can't hold a candle to the rich, vibrant flavors of homemade tomato sauce. While most traditional recipes call for long, slow and vigilant cooking on the stove, this recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce doesn't require you to keep a watchful eye over a pot for hours. In fact, you can prepare everything else for dinner while the tomatoes are roasting in the oven, then process and simmer relatively briefly on the stove while you set the table and take care of any last-minute dinner prep (perhaps open a bottle of red wine, dress the salad, etc.). The photo shows the sauce tossed with linguini and sliced chorizo, but you can substitute Italian or other sausage, cooked chicken or shrimp, or simply enjoy without meat as a vegetarian sauce over your favorite pasta. It's also quite nice over cooked chicken breasts or roasted zucchini, and even with crusty bread for dipping. The recipe makes enough for 4 servings.
6 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 450° F degrees. Place tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, oregano and olive oil in a small bowl and toss to combine, fully coating tomatoes with the oil. Spread on a baking pan, making sure the tomato halves are cut-side up. Roast in oven at 450°F until the tomatoes' skins start to char and tomatoes are soft, about half an hour (during this time you can assemble the other ingredients, start cooking the pasta, slice the chorizo or sausage, etc.). Once the tomatoes are done, use a spatula to transfer them, along with any juices or garlic from the pan, into a food processor or blender--or, if you have an immersion blender then transfer them into a medium pot. Add pepper, sugar and vinegar, then process or blend to desired consistency, tasting for balance and adding salt as desired. Transfer sauce into a small or medium pot (or keep in the same pot if using the immersion blender method) and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes to thicken slightly--this is a good time to finish any remaining dinner prep. When ready to serve, remove sauce from heat and stir in the parsley. Serve hot over pasta, with or without meat, or over chicken, etc. If desired, top with a little shredded parmesan or other cheese and/or crushed red pepper flakes.