Roasting tomatoes and garlic brings out the sweetness in each. The flavor of the tomatoes intensifies, while the garlic mellows. Each are terrific on their own, but when combined, they make an incredibly flavorful spread which can be used on sandwiches, pizzas, or stirred into pasta sauces. In this case, I add it to a basic tomato sauce, giving it a sweet complexity which takes it way beyond your average marinara.
1 (28 oz) can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
1 head garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine of choice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Tear each tomato open and squeeze out the seeds. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Cut the top off the head of garlic, exposing the flesh of some of the cloves. Place the garlic head on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 tsp. Gather the foil and wrap it around the head of garlic.
4. Place the baking sheet holding the tomatoes and the foil wrapped head of garlic in the oven. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Roast the tomatoes for 5 minutes more, then remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Meanwhile, once the head of garlic is cool enough to touch with your bare hands, squeeze the cloves of garlic into a bowl.
5. Place the roasted tomatoes and 3 cloves of garlic into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. You should have roughly 3/4 cups of roasted tomato-garlic purée. Reserve the remaining roasted garlic by placing it in a storage container and covering it with olive oil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and use as desired, or freeze for up to 3 months.
6. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
7. Add the crushed tomatoes, roasted tomato & garlic purée, wine, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the ingredients to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Add the fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine; continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
9. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta or save for a later use.
Makes roughly 4 cups of sauce