Upon returning home from our long trip, I spied several red tomatoes in the garden still holding their own in late September. I picked about 20 medium tomatoes and wanted to find an easy way to use them up quickly, since a few of them seemed like they’d been hanging around awhile. Because these are late season tomatoes, I wasn’t sure how flavorful they would be, so I decided to roast them on a low heat to concentrate their flavors a little. I added a head of garlic to the mix as I love the flavor roasted garlic adds to tomato sauce and a little cream helped smooth the acidity of the tomatoes. I pulled out a bag of dried spinach pasta from the pantry and a bag of baby spinach from the fridge to bump up the nutrients in this dish even more and it made for a really nice, easy dinner. I used this sauce on four portions of pasta because I like my pasta pretty saucy, but this would be enough for 6 portions of pasta if you prefer a little less sauce.
Roasted Tomato Sauce with Spinach Pasta
- 20 medium tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 bag of spinach
- 8 ounces dried spinach fettuccine (or plain)
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 300°.
Place cut tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle oregano and salt over the tomatoes evenly.
Slice off the very top of the garlic head, place it on a piece of foil, drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil over the garlic and wrap the foil around the garlic. Place on the baking sheet with the tomatoes and put the sheet in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the garlic, open the foil to let cool, while the tomatoes remain in the oven.
Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, squeeze each of the soft garlic cloves in to a bowl, being careful to remove and discard the papery shell of the garlic. Transfer to a blender.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and carefully transfer the tomatoes and juices to the blender and puree until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
Remember to remove the center of the lid and place a paper towel over to prevent splatter while allowing the steam to escape.
Transfer the puree to a pot, heat to medium heat, and add heavy cream and stir to combine.
Add the contents of a bag of spinach and add salt and pepper to taste.
Boil pasta according to the package directions and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce and add pasta water as needed to help thin the sauce. Plate the pasta and sprinkle shredded Parmesan on top.
You can vary this recipe by adding shredded zucchini instead of the spinach or by adding meatballs, as we did, before serving.