We wanted to eat spaghetti and tomato sauce made from scratch, but we didn’t want to make spaghetti and tomato sauce from scratch. While we love making an afternoon of cooking together, this past Friday we had the kind of week where we wanted to skip right to the eating. So we took some inspiration from a cooking class we had in Rome and made this Roman Inspired Tomato Sauce. You still get the made from scratch fresh taste, but with a lot less work.
The sweetness from the cherry tomatoes adds all the flavor that you need in this sauce. Each time that you bite into one of the cherry tomatoes, you’ll taste the sweetness of the juices as it combines with the rest of the sauce in your mouth. It’s simple, yet fresh and tastes oh-so-much better than your standard jarred tomato sauce. We used an organic jar of crushed tomatoes, but that’s just because the regular stuff is pretty hard to find here in Spain.
It’s a great shortcut, though it's not to diminish the wonders of a tomato sauce made from scratch. We’ll revisit that one when we have a less hectic evening to give it the justice it deserves. We’ll pass along what we learned from our cooking class in Rome taught by the impressive, Federico (who has cooked for some pretty high-ups in the Italian government!).
Roman Inspired Tomato Sauce
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- 1 lb spaghetti, cooked until al dente
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
- fresh basil leaves, optional
- Add oil and the minced garlic to a pan on medium-low heat. After two minutes add the jar of crushed tomatoes and stir occasionally.
- Slice each of the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise, place aside. Don’t crush the tomatoes as you slice them, the idea is to keep all of the juices in.
- Drizzle a pan with oil and place on medium high-heat. Place the cherry tomatoes face down on the pan. Let cook for about 6-8 minutes. It should be hot enough to seal off the bottom of the cherry tomatoes (but not burn), keeping the juices inside. Take off the heat before the cherry tomatoes become too soft.
- Add the cherry tomatoes to the crushed tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Lastly, add the cooked spaghetti to the pan with the sauce while on medium-low heat to finish the pasta in the sauce and warm through, 1 minute.
- Serve topped with the fresh mozzarella and basil.