I have been swamped the last few days. Picture me in my kitchen covered with purple grape juice and you know what I’ve been doing. Canning season is always busy, but always so rewarding. I love the sights and smells and tastes of the season.
Speaking of sight and smells and tastes. Do you ever daydream of food? A friend of mine posted on her facebook page about making some roasted pasta sauce the other night and I couldn’t stop daydreaming about that yummy looking sauce until I created my own version of it. And oh my. I’ve been daydreaming about it ever since. I made it two days ago and had it for lunch yesterday and again today and I will not be satisfied until I eat it at least 2.2 more times this week. It was so yummy.
If you happen to be reading this today it’s your lucky day because I happened to have had a few seconds to post it for you to make. It is the perfect dish for this time of year. Roasted tender vegetables mixed in a sauce made from fresh roasted tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic and onions served over pasta. If that’s not enough, one more thing I love about it is that the flavor just gets better and better the longer it simmers. So if you make it in the morning and let it stay warm in your crockpot or on warm in your pressure cooker all day that can save you a lot of stress during that most stressful what’s-for-dinner-time of day. I need these kinds of meals right now. Especially with canning season in full-force and two boys in soccer.
Don’t worry if your family is not a fan of eggplant. We’re not really either, but in this dish, the eggplant is really good. If you’re really too scared to try it, you can also use yellow squash (or another of your favorite vegetables) as a substitute. Just make it. Now I’ve got to hurry off to tend to my grapes before I get wrapped into the soccer craze of the evening. Ta ta for now.
Roasted Vegetable Marinara Sauce
*Makes a lot, about 10-12 servings
1 eggplant diced, about 2-3 cups (if you don’t want to use eggplant you can alternately use 2 small yellow squash, diced)
1-1/2 tsp. + more sea salt, divided
24 medium tomatoes (I used about 3/4 of them Roma tomatoes for a thicker sauce)
2 large onions, divided
10 cloves garlic, divided
1/3 Cup + 1/4 Cup Olive oil, divided
8-10 large fresh basil leaves, washed
6-8 sprigs fresh oregano leaves, washed and leaves removed
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, washed and leaves removed
2 small zucchini (or 1 larger) diced, about 2-3 cups
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 yellow or orange pepper, cored, seeded and diced
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (make sure to use a good quality brand)
1 tsp. dried rosemary or 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
Hot, cooked pasta, for serving
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Place the chopped eggplant (if using, skip this step if using yellow squash) in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the sea salt and stir well. Drain for 30 minutes and then rinse with cold water and pat dry with towels.
Preheat oven to 425. Meanwhile prepare tomatoes by washing and coring. You can cut some of them in half or leave them whole. Place tomatoes in a large 10×14 casserole pan if you have one or use another pan that has deep sides (you can also split this between two pans). Quarter one of the large onions and peel 6 cloves of the garlic. Toss the onion pieces and peeled garlic cloves evenly in the pan. Add fresh basil, oregano, and thyme leaves. Drizzle with 1/3 Cup (or more) olive oil and season generously with sea salt. Place casserole pan in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes or until tomatoes blacken slightly. For a thicker sauce you will want to roast longer, stirring the mixture occasionally.
While the tomatoes are roasting, dice the second large onion. Combine the diced onion with the eggplant (or yellow squash), diced zucchini, and diced peppers in large bowl. Mince the remaining 4 cloves of garlic. In a small bowl whisk remaining 1/4 Cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic, and rosemary. Pour over the squash/eggplant vegetable mixture and toss until evenly coated. Scoop these vegetables on a separate large, rimmed baking sheet (12×15-inches) and spread them evenly. If there is room in your oven you can roast this pan at the same time. Roast at 425 F for about 30 minutes or until vegetables turn tender and golden brown. Stir the mixture occasionally while roasting. When finished, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp. sea salt over the mixed vegetables.
When tomato mixture is done roasting, scoop them into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Puree tomato mixture until it reaches the desired consistency. Then pour into a large saucepan. Add the roasted vegetables and heat until sauce starts to simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add salt to taste. Simmer longer, if desired. Serve over hot, cooked pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com