I know I just said I wouldn't tease you with summer recipes in the fall, but I just had to share this one. Yes, it uses fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden (which has been cut down for a few weeks now), but you can still buy fresh tomatoes at roadside stands in the Mid-Atlantic through October and you can always find plum tomatoes at the grocery store. Nothing beats fresh basil and although it may cost a few bucks to buy, it's worth the purchase.
This recipe uses a similar method to the Roasted Tomato Salsa that I posted this summer. I loved the simplicity of that technique so much that I opted to try it for a marinara-type sauce. I'm so happy with the result and it's really simple.
You start with a couple pounds of fresh tomatoes, some garlic and an onion. Roast them in your oven until the edges are starting to char...
Dump the roasted vegetables in the bowl of your food processor (or a large blender) along with basil, salt, and olive oil. You may decide to add just a dash of sugar.
I know that looks like a lot of salt, but these tomatoes are fresh and the salt really brings out the flavor.
Give the veggies a whirl...
That's it! Now you have roasted tomato sauce that you can use to top a pizza, as a dip for mozzarella sticks or pepperoni bread or in your favorite spaghetti or lasagna recipe.
I used it with ground turkey and hot Italian sausage to make spaghetti sauce.
No seeding, peeling or boiling tomatoes and no dicing onions or mincing garlic. It's fresh and it's easy. It's also versatile and it's a great alternative to jarred sauces.
I was able to roast the vegetables one day (or early in the morning), refrigerate them, and then blend the sauce at dinnertime. This comes in handy when you're dealing with the demands of a newborn or any other everyday chaos.
I'm always looking for ways to use up produce that's about to be past its prime and roasting is a fantastic option for extending the life of your fresh veggies.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
a Keeley original
1 1/2-2 pounds of tomatoes, halved with stem removed (your favorite variety)
1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic
a handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (I use Diamond Brand, use more or less salt to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil (spray with cooking spray if you use this option) or parchment paper (no spray needed). Spread tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a single layer on baking sheet.
Roast until edges of vegetables are beginning to char (35+ minutes). Remove vegetables from oven and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Add basil, salt, sugar, and olive oil to food processor. Process or pulse until sauce reaches desired consistency (chunky or smooth, whatever you like). Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Use in your favorite pizza, lasagna or spaghetti recipe or as a dip for your Italian-style appetizers. Refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.