Roast your Red Sauce

When it comes to making a nice red sauce, I used to go all out. A dozen different ingredients and spices, hours upon hours spent at the barest simmer. All to develop those deep yet subtle layers of flavor that dance across your palate, molto squisito!

But let’s be honest – as much as I enjoy agonizing over a red sauce all day long (and I do!), I don’t always have an entire day to dedicate to the cause. So I’m always on the hunt for ways to make my sauce taste like it took all day without actually putting in the hard yards.

And that’s where I learned to roast my sauce. It dramatically cuts down the amount of time and ingredients necessary to produce a FULL FLAVORED SAUCE. All you need are a few simple ingredients and two common kitchen implements:

Roasted Red Sauce

  • 28 oz can of Whole Peeled Tamatoes
  • 1 onion, cut in half (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Seriously. That’s it.

Olive oil, tomatoes and an onion

The only other things you’ll need are an oven, an oven safe pan (preferably cast iron) and an immersion blender. If you don’t already own an immersion blender, stop everything and get one. It’ll change your life! Soups for days! A good cast iron is also an absolute staple and shockingly cheap. For some reason I assume anything heavy will also be expensive. If you don’t have an oven…I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe contact your landlord?

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400° and warming up the olive oil in your pan to medium heat. Toss in the whole peeled tomatoes, and your halved onion and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes. I like to break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon because it gives more surface area for roasting, but also because it’s slightly cathartic.

Whole peeled tomatoes in cast iron pan

Once your tomatoes have a chance to soften a bit and break down, pop your pan into the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes. Check every 10 minutes or so, but don’t be alarmed if you start to develop a layer of caramelized tomatoes on top. That’s where the flavor lives!

Roasted and caramelized sauce

Dig that caramelized deliciousness!

When your tomatoes are done roasting remove the pan from the oven, keeping in mind that the handle is probably LUDICROUSLY HOT. Remove the onions, unless you want the sauce to be very onion-forward, and blend everything up.

Roasted sauce blended

Depending on how large or small your pan is, getting every last tomato blended will either take two seconds or one tomato will stubbornly scoot around the edges and avoid your blender indefinitely. DO NOT LET IT WIN. Make sure blend everything to a silky smoothness that can cling to every contour of your favorite noodle.

Sauced pasta

And that’s it! Dramatically amp up the flavor in a sauce that takes less than an hour to whip up. Impress people with your efficiency or lie and make them think you slaved over the sauce all day – your call.

Buona Fortuna!

Not-A-Chef Jared

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