I promised you an easy idea for topping that spaghetti squash I just posted. There’s a million things you can do with spaghetti squash, but today, we’re going classic and topping it with a deliciously Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce.
Roasted? Yes. Roasted. Do you know what that means?!? You can roast your spaghetti squash and your tomatoes and boom! Dinner is done. It’s a two for one deal.
When we were deluged with tomatoes at the end of the summer, I roasted up trays and trays of this stuff. And then I froze the sauce in zip top freezer bags. Now I’ve got tomato sauce ready and waiting for spaghetti squash, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, chicken parm, etc…
You might have a favorite jarred sauce. I, too, keep a few jars in my pantry. But there’s something about a homemade sauce that just gets me every time. It doesn’t have to be hard. Yes, some have old family recipes that simmer on the stove top for hours on a Sunday (my mouth is watering now) but I rarely go that lengthy route.
In real life, I feel like I’m cooking all of the time. Honestly, it’s enough to get a healthy home cooked dinner on the table every night. Those long term cooking projects? They’re great…but they’re more of an event that I need to plan for.
I like to engage the whole family in those kinds of cooking projects; it’s quality time together that leaves us with a delicious reward at the end. (I also like to add doing dishes into our “quality time” together mwahahaha :)
There is something, though, about good quality ingredients, prepared simply. That’s what this sauce is.
In fact, I think my favorite tomato sauces are the ones that are the simplest to prepare. And yes, my mouth is watering thinking about this sauce as well. (Um, it must be lunch time.)
I start by lining a baking sheet with foil and then drizzle some olive oil on it. Fresh tomatoes are cut into thick slices (so they don’t dry out while roasting.) I swirl them around on the oil drizzled tray to coat them and then flip them over and swirl again.
Throw a few cloves of whole peeled garlic on to the pan along with 1/2 of a medium onion, cut into thick wedges. Coat the onion and garlic in olive oil from the pan, or drizzle a bit more if you need to.
Season with salt, pepper and dried herbs. You can use an Italian herb mix or a combination of dried basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary…you get the idea. I made it easy and just used dried Italian seasoning.
You can use fresh herbs too. I love, love, love fresh oregano and basil, but I generally prefer them used fresh instead of roasting them. Plus, dried herbs are what I had on hand and likely a pantry item for you as well. (Actually, I had fresh basil too…but I was saving it to top off the dish at serving.)
Once you’ve drizzled and seasoned, you’re ready to pop the tray into the oven. Roast it for 20-30 minutes until the veggies start getting a little charred around the edges and the tomatoes are releasing some juice.
You have a few cloves of roasted garlic on your pan. Leave just ONE on the pan and set the others aside. Now everything on the pan goes into a food processor. (Seriously, don’t you want to just take a fork and munch on those tomatoes? The color is insane!)
Pulse it a few times until you get your desired smoothness. I like mine to have a little texture to it. Taste it. If it’s too acidic, add a bit of sugar, honey or baking soda. (Baking soda? Yep, it neutralizes the acid.)
Not enough garlic? Add in another clove. Adjust for salt and pepper and you are good to go. Too thick? Add some chicken or vegetable broth to loosen it up.
For me? One clove of garlic was plenty and I didn’t need to adjust anything. It’s all going to depend on your tomatoes and your taste preferences.
The flavor is out of this world, especially if you’re working with great tomatoes. But I’d also hazard a guess that roasting a less than great tomato probably gives it a hand in the flavor department.
I’m just giving you the basics today, but you can really play around with this and add other veggies like peppers or carrots or add some crushed red pepper flakes for some heat. You won’t need a lot to add extra flavor.
I like to keep the tomatoes the star of the show and just add a little bit of flavor with the onion and garlic. The cool thing is that even if you roast up a bunch of things, you can always reserve the final decision for when you get to the food processor step.
Just like the garlic, add a little bit of roasted pepper or whatever veg you want to try. Taste it. You can always add more until you’ve got a balance of flavors you love.
Trust me, the flavor is anything but basic. Look at how rich it looks! I love the color and the texture and the freshness of it. It’s so good on top of spaghetti squash! I added some fresh basil and freshly grated Locatelli romano cheese.
Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce. I promised you an easy topping for that spaghetti squash…today that promise is signed, sealed,
Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes sliced about 1/2" thick
- 1/2 medium onion cut in thick wedges
- 2-3 whole cloves of garlic peeled
- olive oil
- salt I use kosher salt
- dried Italian herbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil (for easy clean up.)
Drizzle the pan with olive oil. Place tomato slices, garlic and onion wedges onto pan swirling and flipping them until they are coated. Drizzle more olive oil on top, if necessary.
Season with salt, pepper and dried Italian herbs.
Roast for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are getting just a little charred on the edges and the tomatoes have begun to release their juice.
Remove all but one clove of garlic from the tray (reserve the other cloves) and empty the tray into a food processor or blender. Process to desired texture and adjust seasoning to taste. You can add another clove of garlic, if you want a stronger garlic flavor or just adjust for salt and pepper.
*If you find your sauce is a little acidic, you can add sugar, honey or baking soda. Start with just a little. You can always add more if it needs it. If it's thicker than you want, add a little chicken broth or vegetable broth. (It's never too thick for me.)
*Experiment with roasting different vegetables like red peppers or carrots. If you use carrots, they may need a little more roasting time than the tomatoes, or cut them into smaller pieces. If you want to add some heat, season the tray with some crushed red pepper flakes.
*If you find that one clove of garlic works for you, then just roast one the next time. Garlic cloves are always different sizes, so I just throw a few onto the sheet so that I have options. Any leftovers can be used for other recipes. You could mash it up with some butter, maybe add some romano cheese, spread it on some great bread, bake/broil and make a delicious garlic bread to go with your pasta :)
*Don't go too crazy with the olive oil. It has a lower smoke point than other oils and we are roasting here at a high heat. I probably used a couple of tablespoons or so. You want to be generous, but you do not want to end up with a lake full of oil on your baking sheet.
*I used 2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes and got 2 1/2 cups of sauce, so you can figure you're getting about a cup of sauce per pound of tomatoes.
*This sauce freezes well. I allow it to cool and then freeze in zip top freezer bags.
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