Pasta sauce. When I was growing up that meant strangely tinny tomato sauce from a can that had a shelf life of forever. I do believe cans of that stuff (which shall remain unnamed) will be around long after humans have gone extinct, for some other species that comes after us to dig up and draw conclusions about our diet on. I hope not. I don’t want them to believe that stuff and SPAM (the other food that will last eons) was all we ever ate…
These are the strange things I get to thinking about when I’m cooking. No seriously, that is what I think about. Who first saw the partially digested milk in the stomach of a nursing calf and thought… I bet that would go great in some milk, thereby creating cheese? Meat gave us our big brains but who first thought of stopping long enough to cook it? And who thought, this would taste so much better with some of those black spicy seeds crushed up on it, and maybe a little of that white silt the ocean leaves behind? Who looked at rotten fruit and thought, I’m just going to eat that, discovering alcohol in the process? And who first risked stealing honeycomb from protective bees?
A meandering mind is what I have. And now it’s back to it’s original point – pasta sauce. I enjoyed pasta so much more when I realized that the sauce did not have to taste metallic at all. It could taste pretty much like anything I wanted it to.
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce
2 bell peppers, washed, dried, cut in half and deseeded
1 zucchini, washed, dried, cut in quarters
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1 head of garlic, with the top 1/8″ cut off
3 tomatoes, washed, dried and slit down the sides
3 chili peppers, washed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil for roasting
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon basil leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking the sauce
Preheat your oven to 350F on the roast setting (bake works fine if you don’t have a roast setting). Place the bell peppers, zucchini, onion, garlic, slit tomatoes and chili peppers in a roasting pan or casserole. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over the vegetables. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Set the roasted garlic aside to cool. Remove the skins from the roasted peppers once they are cool enough to handle. Put all of the roasted vegetables into the blender, with the exception of the garlic. Puree the vegetables.
Remove the garlic cloves from the head of garlic by gently squeezing each out of the head. Add the remaining olive oil to a large pot and heat the oil over high heat until shimmering. Add all of the ingredients to the pot, cover and reduce heat to medium and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 25 minutes.
Your pasta sauce is now ready to serve.
You can do all of this in the slow cooker, with similar though not quite equal results. Simply chops all of the vegetables finely. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours. You may need to begin adding water at hour six to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick. If using the slow cooker, add the ground pepper at the end.
You can add other vegetables to this dish as well. On the roasting side, eggplant and even cauliflower have been successful. On the chopped side, spinach and mushrooms are favourites for this sauce.
Feel free to experiment as always.
This sauce will store very well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days. It also freezes very well and can be canned in a pressure canner.
Until next time,
Peace and love,