Homemade Roasted Plum Tomato Marinara

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I’ve met a lot of great people over the years. Quite a few of them have been through my husband. The greatest has been the additional family I acquired the day we got married. Unlike so many, I actually LOVE my in-laws. I look forward to seeing them every summer and (now that I no longer work retail) regularly during the holidays.

During the last year my husband and I lived in Connecticut, his sister Erin moved from her apartment in Dallas to New York to be a teacher. Having her so close gave us the chance to see her more than we were ever able to, which made it that much harder to leave when the time came. During that time, we bonded tremendously and discovered how much alike she and I were.

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Since we moved to Miami Beach, Erin has managed to visit us twice. My husband laughs every time he watches me prepare for her arrival, as I always make sure to have 3 things ready to go.

There is no visit without whiskey to sip, at least a dozen episodes of Criminal Minds on the DVR to watch, and tons of pasta to consume.

Her last visit inspired me to call upon a recipe I whipped up over a year ago. It quickly became her very favorite dish, which was something she told me after I had already bought the ingredients to make it without her knowing.

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Homemade Roasted Plum Tomato Marinara in a sauce I put together all of about twice a year, and usually for special occasions. With Erin along with my good friend from high school, my husband’s best friend and her fiancé visiting at the same time, there was no other dish I could fathom putting together.

This marinara is explosive. The flavors added to the tomatoes before they are roasted play off one another in a way that does nothing short of warming your heart. When you toss pasta into this sauce and sit down to a big bowl of it, you feel like you are at home. And that is the point of this dish.

This is a sauce worth making from scratch, as nothing you find in a jar will come close. So for your next Italian dinner party, take the time to make this sauce, which doesn’t take much time at all. And you will want to return to this recipe all year round.

 Homemade Roasted Plum Tomato Marinara

(yields roughly 10-12 cups of sauce)

For roasting the tomatoes:

6 lb plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tb chopped rosemary (4-6 sprigs)

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp cracked black pepper

2 tb balsamic vinegar

Coat tomatoes with the oil, vinegar and spices. Place in a baking dish in the center of the oven and broil for 30 minutes.

For the sauté:

2 large sweet onions, diced

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tb butter

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 thyme bundle (20-30 sprigs)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

Melt the butter into the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the onion, salt, cracked black pepper and thyme bundle and cook down for 25 minutes.

Bringing it all together:

Combine the roasted tomatoes and sautéed onions in the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Using an emersion blender or a standing blender, blend at least half of the sauce. You can blend more of it for a smoother sauce or less for a more chunky sauce. Combine the blended and unblended tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.

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