Dinner Tonight: Roasted Tomato Sauce for Pasta

When the summer comes to an end, there is always a surfeit of tomatoes. Whether you head to the farmer's market and try to nab the sun-softened leftovers at the end of the day for cheap—or you grow your own and the fruits finally turning ripe all at once, as in my case—this recipe for roasted tomato sauce from The River Cottage Cookbook is a great way to take advantage. It's especially kind to tomatoes a little past their prime and growing slightly mealy.

The original recipe is simple: just roast the halved tomatoes in the oven with chopped garlic and olive oil, then pass the result through a sieve or food mill. In an act of supreme laziness, I didn't bother chopping the garlic cloves, and I blended everything in the end, including skins and seeds. It didn't seem to matter—I enriched it with a few tablespoons of butter and served it with fusilli. The pasta was as rich and thick as macaroni and cheese.

Roasted Tomato Sauce for Pasta

Adapted from The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Tomato Sauce for Pasta

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About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds tomatoes, any variety, cut in half
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound shaped pasta, such as fusilli
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes and pack them in an ovenproof dish. Chop the garlic if using a sieve or food mill, leave whole if blending. Mix the garlic with the olive oil and drizzle over the tomatoes. Season with a few good pinches of salt and pepper.

  2. 2

    Roast for 35 minutes, until soft and just beginning to brown. Push the result through a sieve or food processor, or blend. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil.

  3. 3

    Cook the pasta until al dente. In the meantime, transfer the tomato mixture to a saucepan and add the butter. Simmer gently, aiming for a thick but not-too-pasty consistency. Add water if necessary. Season to taste.

  4. 4

    Toss the drained pasta with the sauce and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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