Every Wednesday night is pasta night in our house. We've followed a few different recipes, with one of our favorites being Lidia Bastianich's very simple and tasty marinara sauce. Recently, though, my husband found another recipe for roasted tomato sauce, which has moved to the top of our list. Sorry Lidia. We still love you.
Jason thinks he found the recipe on epicurious if that helps anyone who wants to find the original. But I am going to lay it out here for you in the way I was taught (just yesterday) to cook it, by Jason via google chat. Meaning, he was getting ready to make his way home from work yesterday and asked me to get the sauce started. So, he gave me the directions in a chat.
Now, I'm not a bad cook, but I'm not Jason. 1) I don't really enjoy cooking, probably because 2) I can't do more than one thing at a time in the kitchen like he can. So, we've agreed that he is the cook, and I am his helper and cleaner-upper. Though he is a great cook, he is also messy, so I'm not let off the hook that easy.
Jason's Roasted Tomato Sauce:
1 35 oz can peeled plum tomatoes
pinch of red pepper flakes to taste (some like it hot, be careful)
6-8 crushed garlic cloves
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 tablespoon oregano or Italian seasoning
9 x 13 glass casserole dish
immersion blender, optional
fresh or crushed basil, or basil paste
ground beef, seasoned to your tastes
ground turkey, seasoned to your tastes
peeled, uncooked shrimp
Directions, given via gchat:
dump the can of tomatoes into the large glass casserole dish
sprinkle in a good sized pinch of red pepper flakes
oh no. do I have to blend them?
(I don't get along well with immersion blenders.)
just use a fork to kinda cut/lightly mash them after you dump them in
(I actually used an old potato masher to just squish them up a bit.)
crush 6-8 cloves of garlic...no need to chop them
put them in w/ the tomatoes and pepper flakes
distribute 1/2 stick of butter w/ the tomatoes
give a sprinkle of the Italian seasoning
cook at 375º until I take it out and mix w/ the browned ground turkey (which I will cook when I get home)
you can give it a little stir after 30 min or so
it's pretty easy
Yes, I am here to tell you that it is the easiest and best tomato sauce, and the fact that it is roasted in the oven probably has a lot to do with its wonderfulness. Oh, and the butter. Though, if you don't want to use butter, I'm sure it will be just as good.
When Jason got home, the sauce had been cooking for about 30 minutes or more. He then took it out of the oven and used an immersion blender to break up the tomatoes a bit more. Not necessary, though. You can have them as chunky or as blended as you like. He then added about a tablespoon of basil paste to the sauce. He browned some ground turkey and then deglazed that pan with red wine and added the sauce to the pan.
We also change it up each week by using ground beef, ground turkey, shrimp, or my favorite, Italian Sausage. If you use shrimp you will put the peeled, uncooked shrimp in the sauce about 4 minutes before your pasta is done. Or, you don't have to use meat at all. It's a great marinara sauce as well.
Cooking the pasta:
A very important step we learned from watching the amazing chef, JacquesPépin, is to cook your pasta in salted water until al dente and not to drain it. Rather, scoop the pasta out of the water and into the sauce to let it finish cooking for a couple minutes. If needed, you can scoop a bit of the salted pasta water into the sauce.