I love spaghetti. Just plain old spaghetti with tomato sauce. You would think that when I went to an Italian restaurant that I would get something that I couldn’t get from a jar, but I just can’t help it. There is just nothing like spaghetti with homemade sauce. I think it started when I went to New Jersey in college to visit a friend whose mother is famous for her amazing sauce.
Joyce Sharkey always had a house full of people eating and snacking on her delicious meals. Chicken cutlets, eggplant and sausages are always served with the most delicious tomato sauce and spaghetti. Twenty years after that first trip to the Sharkeys’, I still try and recreate it, but have never been able to do it justice and let me assure you – you can’t get this from a jar! I just go around from Italian restaurant to restaurant and try and find a sauce I like half as much.
From time to time I will dabble in the tomato sauce arena. In the fall, I usually can tomatoes that I have picked up from the farmers market in bulk. By cooking a jar of those home canned tomatoes down, I can make a delicious and light sauce for angel hair or thin spaghetti. Chunky tomato sauce is my favorite so I am able to maintain the chunks of tomato in each bite. Recently, I took a recipe for roasted tomatoes from my favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten, and made my own sauce. It was delicious and I may have found a new stable in my kitchen. But, Joyce, you are still numero uno!
- 20 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
- 4 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb dry spaghetti
- ¼ cup fresh basil or pesto
- parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize.
- Remove from oven and place tomatoes and juices in a blender.
- Pulse the tomatoes until desired consistency.
- Serve your sauce over cooked spaghetti with a dollop of pesto or julienned basil.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese.