I grew up hating spaghetti and tomato sauce. We never had any sauce which hadn’t originated in a jar and it was dressed up mostly with chopped up veg like mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Buuuuut, none of those were usually cooked prior to inclusion in the sauce, so they didn’t add much and were more of a klugey obstacle in a boring dish.
Also, I really have never dug the food served at Southern Italian restaurants which were some combination of mozzarella, red sauce and pasta. Same way that I’m generally not down with Mexican restaurants which (stolen from Jim Gaffigan) are any combination of beans, meat, tortilla, lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese and mebbe the orange-tinted rice (though I really like the way those places make fajitas since I can’t replicate them at home).
My challenge is often to see how good of a meal I can make in the time in between getting home from work (30-45 minute drive) and when I’m out of patience to do anything other than eat. So I look not for shortcuts, but alternate methods of quality cooking in a condensed period of time. A pressure cooker mentality applied to other methods and techniques. From that, I turned my desire to make an excellent, long simmered red sauce into a 30 minute, chunky tomato sauce that turns the switch on a regular pasta dinner. This will keep in your fridge for a day or so. I don’t anticipate it lasting that long.
These are what I had available the first time I devised the recipe. If you happen to have onions available, use a small one or half a medium cut into quarters before roasting. If you’ve got fresh herbs, add some of those when it goes into the food processor. —nerditry
Foil covered broiler pan
Spatula (not pancake turner)
Food Processor (Or a blender)
large red Cubanelle pepper, seeded, cut in half lengthwise
medium tomatoes, ripe, quartered, seeded
fresh garlic cloves, minced
dried red chili flakes
whole black peppercorns
In This Recipe
Preheat broiler and place rack on 2nd highest row.
Combine last six ingredients in mortar and pestle, grind into a paste. Marinate tomatoes and peppers for 15 minutes.
Place vegetables on broiler pan with enough space so they aren’t touching.
Roast until skins start to char.
Turn vegetables over to opposite side until lightly charred.
Place hot vegetables and marinade in food processor, pulse until halfway to desired consistency.
Add salt and more olive oil to taste, pulse to desired consistency.
Serve hot over hot pasta or let cool to room temperature.