Friday, July 11, 2014

Roasted Tomatoes and Bell Peppers Spaghetti Sauce

Summer is a tomato season and tomato is my beloved summer vegetable. For the past few weeks local tomatoes have been coming to our stores, fresh from the field, absolutely the best. Because in my house pasta is among the most loved dishes I decided to make my own tomato sauce from scratch. I thought about a sauce made with roasted tomatoes, which is a bit denser and more smokey in taste than just a regular tomato sauce.

In Italian cuisine there is a classic recipe for pasta with roasted tomatoes. Tomatoes, or often cherry tomatoes, are roasted then thrown on hot pasta. My kids love tomato sauce however not so much tomatoes themselves, especially when the skin separates from the flesh. Therefore I roast tomatoes and turn them into a smooth sauce. I also add roasted bell peppers for extra sweetness, and onion and garlic for the aroma, then I pureé all the ingredients in a food processor, or press them through a food mill. Sauce made this way can be reheated at any time and served on spaghetti. Then I add Parmesan and some basil on top, for extra flavor and my pasta is ready.

Roasted Tomatoes and Bell Peppers Spaghetti Sauce
(Serves four)

1 lb spaghetti,
2 lb very ripe Roma tomatoes,
2 red or yellow bell peppers,
1 medium yellow onion,
2 garlic cloves, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil,
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste,
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves,
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cut tomatoes in quarters and place them on a large baking tin.
3. Cut bell peppers in halves and remove seeds. Cut them into quarters and place on a baking tin together with tomatoes.
4. Peel off the onion and cut into quarters. Add it to tomatoes. Add also garlic cloves.
5. Drizzle all the vegetable with olive oil, then using hands mix all the ingredients so the vegetables are covered with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are slightly charred.

6. Remove vegetables from the oven and let them cool down. The skin on tomatoes and peppers should be slightly burned and easy to remove at that stage. This is necessary if you use food blender. If you use food mill you do not need to peel them off as the skin will stay in a food mill, anyways.
7. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl.
8. Heat the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and pour over the spaghetti. Finish with fresh Parmesan and chopped fresh basil leaves.

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