This is one of my go-to sauces in early autumn, when we start to get serious amounts of tomatoes, all in different stages of ripeness, some with marks or insect nibbles, some split, some over ripe, some not so much. I’ve actually put a version of this up before on here… but it’s too good & too reliable to not pop it up here again.
It’s a remarkably flexible way of making tomato sauce, so you can switch up the herbs, add in spices or even toss in some mediterranean veggies…the depth of flavour changes according to what you add in, but it will always taste delicious.
WHY IS THIS SO??
Oven roasting the tomatoes, caramelizes and concentrates the naturally occurring sugars in the tomatoes, meaning that even if they are the hard shouldered supermarket bought, or you have had a less than perfect summer for tomato growing (it’s Britain! there’s an 8 out of 10 chance you haven’t had a tomato growing summer!) you will still end up with a lush, juicy, and deeply flavourful tomato sauce.
Better still, this is a super easy recipe. Pretty much all you need to do is, chop the tomatoes, add in fresh herbs & garlic, toss in an oven roasting pan & roast on a medium heat for 45 mins, and stir occasionally. Then maybe add a bit of wine towards the end & give it a another 5-10 mins to cook down.
The only other thing you need to do is…
NOT FORGET IT IS IN THE OVEN!!!!
Take it from me, just don’t. I’ve done it, so you don’t have to.
In fact, I forget at least once a year. And let me tell you, the washing up is NOT fun! This year, I was distracted by Japan winning against South Africa in the Ruby World Cup.. Seriously exciting stuff, which meant seriously boring washing up for me later as well as a stinky, smokey kitchen.
Despite the danger of forgetting that this is in the oven & ending up with tomato char, I do urge you to try this. And not just to put on pasta.. make extra!
Use it as a kind of salsa.. or poach eggs in it.. or add it to a sandwich hey you could even add it to (shudder) meat. The Gardener has been known to.
Do let me know if you end up making this.. and what you end up eating it with!
- TOMATOES :: All and any kinds of fresh tomatoes. Leave Cherry types whole , chop the others to a 3cm cube (ish)..Use 500g (ish) for enough sauce for 3-4 people for pasta
- 3-4 garlic cloves , smashed & roughly chopped
- 3- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- dried herbs. Oregano or basil are good. If you can't get fresh thyme , use dried
- 1-2 tsp mild dried chilli powder
- half a fresh chilli (optional)
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- Sea Salt
- 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- Good slug red wine (optional)
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Fresh herbs such as parsley and/or basil
- OPTIONAL: 1 small red pepper and/or aubergine.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, or 200 C
The big tomatoes cut into big cubes. Leave whole if they are little cherry toms. Use any kind you like, a mix from the garden is delicious.
The smashed/roughly chopped garlic.
The other veggies if using.
Add in the dried herbs, thyme, chilli & a touch of salt & pepper.
Slick over a bit more oil, and a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt.
Give it all a good stir around to slick with oil & pop in the oven.
Wait at least 15 mins & give it all a good stir. The tomatoes should have started to soften & all will look a littl soupy.
Turn the heat up a little, and leave another 15 mins.
By now it will still be soupy, but the tomatoes will have started to char a little on their edges. This is a good thing! It concentrates the flavour!
Stir, add the red wine & balsamic & pop back in the oven.
Check again in another 10 mins or so to stir.
Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are, it might be ready by now.. or you might need to leave it in longer. You want a saucy consistency, not soupy!
Taste for salt & pepper & add if necessary...
Serve as you want, over pasta, or as an accompaniment to meats or other veggies.
Just be sure to remember it's in the oven & not char all your yummy tomatoes!