Roasted Tomato Sauce

MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS • PREP TIME: 20 minutes • COOK TIME: 30 minutes

During the summer months, I take advantage of the abundance of tomatoes and put them in the oven to roast. The heavenly smells take me back to Italy, where I first learned how to make this version of tomato sauce. The tomatoes are gently pulsed in a food processor, which yields a lighter sauce. You don’t have to reserve this sauce for pasta—dollop it on fish, vegetables, and meat dishes.

4 pounds Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1 onion, diced small
2 carrots, scrubbed and diced small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Gently squeeze the tomatoes by hand to remove excess seeds, then put them in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on sheet pans and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the skins are just browning and the juices are bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes, then lift off the skins with a fork. 

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and continue to sauté until the carrots become just tender, about 5 minutes. 

Lift the tomatoes off the sheet pans and transfer to a food processor, then pour in any pan juices. Add the carrot mixture and the basil and pulse until pureed but still a little chunky. Transfer back into the saucepan and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste. Tomatoes can sometimes be acidic, so you may want to add a pinch of sweetener and another pinch of salt.

VARIATION: If fresh tomatoes aren’t available, you can substitute two 28-ounce cans of plum tomatoes.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.