“From Scratch” – a phrase that holds prestige for any home cook. When we say we made something from scratch, we mean that it took twice; maybe thrice as long to make. We carefully picked out the freshest ingredients, we sniffed, surveyed, felt around for the best vegetables. We chopped, sauteed, mashed, blended and prepared the meal with care.
Taking a simple dinner like spaghetti to another level, this Roasted Tomato sauce is prepared from scratch. You can taste the difference. The plump Heirloom tomatoes add an unreal flavor to regular sauce that makes spaghetti night better than any other night of the week.
Now that Fall is rapidly approaching, I’m revamping the diet a little; tomatoes, gourds and other colorful vegetables are the stars of my kitchen and yield hot soups and sauces while the Northern chill creeps in quietly. Oh yes, I’m big on eating seasonally. As the weather changes, so does my mood – I like to wear big sweaters, socks, scarves and all the lovely Fall coziness as it begins to get darker sooner. The impending moodiness (not a bad thing, I promise) inspired a different take on my photography session today. I call it “Moody Food”, and employ darker cloths, greys, browns, and shadows to create a story for my food. It makes eating spaghetti infinitely more fun than it already is!
Let’s talk about the sauce; I use basil and thyme liberally as my two favorite herbs and they pair so beautifully with the roasted tomatoes. In a matter of 20 minutes, you will have a rich and vibrant sauce that (in my humble opinion) will kick the butt of any jarred sauce you can find. Fresh is always better, and in these fleeting last days of summer, I am choosing to take advantage of the last Farmer’s markets. I’m sure spaghetti is a weeknight favorite for those of you with children just starting back at school; the best part, it’s vegetarian, gluten free (if you use gluten free spaghetti), and full of nutrients from the tomatoes!
The recipe doubles and triples very well, and can be frozen in an airtight container so you can whip it out and zap it any day of the week!
A special shout out to my lovely sister, Mimi for being my hand model and taste tester for this recipe!
- 6 large Heirloom tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 large leaves of fresh basil
- 1 sprig of thyme, stripped
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus more for spaghetti
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 box of spaghetti, cooked (4 servings)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a lipped baking tray with aluminum foil. Remove the stems from tomatoes (if they have any) and place them top down on the foil. Place peeled garlic cloves on the tray as well.
- Using a pastry brush, brush all the tomatoes and garlic with half a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes until the skins of the tomatoes are peeling off and the garlic is browned.
- Remove from the heat of the oven and let the roasted tomatoes and garlic cool. Use a sharp knife to slice on the pan. The juices of the tomato will release. Once cooled, places the tomatoes, garlic, and the juices of the tomato in a powerful blender of a food processor. Add in 2-3 leaves of basil and thyme leaves. Pulse until smooth.
- In a large pot, heat 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil and pour in the pulsed tomato/garlic mixture. Simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding in pepper, cayenne pepper and vegetable broth. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes. Add in salt and another leaf of basil after chopping it. Sauce will thicken slightly after simmering.
- Toss cooked spaghetti in a little olive oil and ladle sauce over the spaghetti generously. Garnish with extra basil leaves or Parmesan cheese.