For a moment there, I thought we were finally out of the zucchini (courgette) season (though I was wrong about that) and then, to make matters even more interesting, the crop of cherry tomatoes arrived. And when I say it arrived, I mean it came in full force – all tomatoes becoming plump, red and juicy and ready to be picked at the same time. Which, believe me, is a blessing in the current circumstances. We feel happy and grateful to have this little garden going, though I take the fact that all the veggies always all ripen at the same time as a cruel punishment for some wrong I must have committed in my previous life. But, not being one to let anything go to waste, I have come up with this easy roasted tomato pasta sauce which lets you use up nearly a kilo of fresh cherry tomatoes if you’re in a similar predicament. But don’t worry, if you don’t have cherry tomatoes, you can also use large tomatoes. Lucky the fresh produce section is still well stocked in most stores!
What’s so special about this pasta sauce?
Well, for one, it’s roasted in the oven, not simmered on a stove top. In my view, the roasting allows the beautiful fresh tomato flavour to come forth more strongly than by stewing and, if you follow my recipe and include the onion and olives, you will also have beautiful sweet roasted onion pieces (and juices) and little salty olive gems in the mix – what is not to love!
Plus roasting means no standing at the stove top and constant (or even occasional) stirring – bonus!
I said it was easy to make, and it really is. I basically make this roasted tomato pasta sauce in about 45 minutes from start to finish (including roasting time). This is totally doable if you have time on a weeknight but it’s definitely something you can easily include in your weekend prep (if you have hopped onto that particular wagon by now!).
What ingredients do I need for this roasted tomato pasta sauce?
- fresh cherry tomatoes or chopped large tomatoes. I have thought about whether canned tomatoes would also work but don’t think so, unfortunately – I don’t think the texture or the flavour would be right. However, I have not tested this and if tinned tomatoes is all you have right now, feel free to give them a go – and let me know how it worked out!
- brown onion and garlic. These simple ingredients roast alongside the tomatoes (if you use garlic cloves, anyway – otherwise I only add crushed garlic towards the end, so it doesn’t burn) and come out sweet and beautiful, adding tons of flavour to your pasta sauce.
- olives. I like to use pitted Sicilian olives, which are not as salty and strong in taste as other olive varieties. As such, they are more suitable for younger kids. As the adults won’t be disappointed either – they give this pasta sauce a little saltiness and a wonderful depth of flavour.
- olive oil and herbs. I use garlic infused olive oil and crushed herbs for a little extra flavour.
How to use your roasted tomato pasta sauce
You can use this sauce any way you like – in your lasagna, on your spaghetti, any way you like to eat pasta.
But, if you need a bit of inspiration, here’s a simple way to use this roasted tomato pasta sauce:
- Cook 250 g of pasta according to instructions.
- In the last five minutes of the cooking time, add 1 cup of frozen peas to the cooking pasta.
- When cooked, drain the cooking water and return both pasta and peas into the same pot.
- Add your lovely easy roasted tomato pasta sauce and heat through over low to medium heat.
- Remove from heat, add a handful of grated tasty cheese and stir until combined. Serve!
Easy and delightful. I am sure this sauce will have your family requesting this pasta meal over and over again, including the little ones.
Easy roasted tomato pasta sauce [refined sugar, dairy, egg, gluten and nut free]
- 900 g fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1 brown onion, cut into wedges (I halve mine, then quarter, then cut each quarter into halves again)
- about half a small jar (120g) pitted Sicilian olives
- 1 tbsp garlic infused extra virgin olive oil (or substitute normal olive oil)
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic (or 2 whole garlic cloves)
- 1 tsp coriander paste (or substitute fresh chopped coriander or other herbs)
- Pre-heat your oven to 190C and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Make sure the baking paper is large enough to cover the whole bottom of the roasting tin and reaches up the sides too as the tomatoes will let out a bit of juice which you don't want leaking everywhere.
- Weigh the cherry tomatoes in a large glass mixing bowl. Using a potato masher and wearing an apron (you'll thank me for this!), gently press down on the tomatoes, so that they get a little bruised and their skin cracks enough to release some juice. This prevents those cherry tomatoes from exploding while roasting.
- Place the bruised tomatoes in the roasting tin and add the onion wedges, olives and garlic cloves, if using. If you are using minced garlic, do not put it in the roasting tin just yet so it doesn't burn and turn bitter.
- Drizzle the olive oil over all the ingredients in the roasting tin and roast in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
- Take the roasting tin out and add minced garlic, if using, and coriander paste. Use a spoon and the heat of the tomato mixture to mix the garlic and coriander paste with the tomato mixture.
- Return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven and let cool completely, or at least enough to be able to process the tomato mixture without bodily injury.
- Blitz the mixture in your food process and either use immediately or store in your fridge (see recipe tips below).
When processing this sauce, I love to do it in parts (halves) and blitz one half well and the other half a little less – so that it retains larger bits of tomato, onion and olives, for a bit of texture.
This recipe makes about 4 – 6 portions and should keep in the fridge for up to a week. If you sterilise your jars, it might keep longer but I have not yet tried this.