If you don't have a garden, the next best thing is to visit a local farmers' market for freshly picked tomatoes. Many grocery stores stock locally grown tomatoes too. I love walking in my garden in the morning to see what is ripe for picking. I grow poblano peppers, little cucumbers (See my Mom's Refrigerator Pickle recipe here), cherry tomatoes, big heirloom tomatoes which are just starting to ripen, plus lots of herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and a few varieties of thyme.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put them on a baking sheet. Cover them with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, sliced garlic and lots of fresh basil and oregano and pop them in a 250 F preheated oven for about 3 hours. No tossing or turning, just let them roast away.
When you pull them out of the oven they will be soft and intensely flavorful! Wait a few minutes to allow the tomatoes to cool a bit, then scoop the tomatoes, herbs and garlic out of the olive oil with a slotted spoon and place half of them into a saucepan. Place the other half of the roasted tomatoes in a tall measuring bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or regular blender) until almost smooth then add them to the other tomatoes in the saucepan. Stir in 1 generous tablespoon of butter and heat gently while you prepare the pasta. Be sure to strain and save some of the oil from the baking sheet for bread dipping!
Add the sauce to your cooked pasta, toss gently and enjoy! So easy and the freshest-tasting pasta sauce you will ever make.
- If you use larger tomatoes, scoop out as many seeds as you can before roasting. Cut into even pieces.
- Adding 1 chopped onion is optional
- Strain and save the oil from the roasting pan to use as a dip for crusty bread
- These slow-roasted tomatoes can also be used as a topping for bruschetta along with some burrata cheese.
Creamy Cherry Tomato Pasta
This makes approximately 4 side-dish servings of pasta
2 pounds (I used a little more) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
8-10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
8-10 fresh oregano leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter (reserved for reheating the sauce)
1 pound dried pasta of your choice
Freshly chopped Italian parsley for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Arranged cut tomatoes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Scatter sliced garlic and herbs over the tomatoes.
Drizzle all over with olive oil .
Roast, uncovered until tomatoes are very tender, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to a saucepan. (Don't throw out the oil. Strain it and use it for dipping crusty bread.)
Remove about half of the tomatoes, together with herbs and garlic, and place in a deep mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender) until just barely smooth. Return to the saucepan.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the sauce and heat gently while you prepare the pasta. I used Campanelle pasta but use any pasta you wish and prepare as directed on the package.
Drain cooked pasta and place in a serving bowl. Add the tomato sauce, toss gently, top with some freshly chopped Italian parsley and enjoy!