My daughter spent the day with her girlfriend recently. When I picked her up, her friend’s mother gave me a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from her garden. How lucky am I? I had some mushroom ravioli in the refrigerator so I decided to make a marinara sauce using some of the heirloom tomatoes and a few fresh herbs growing in my garden window. The tomatoes, garlic, onion and oregano smelled amazing while they roasted. The marinara came together quite easily and tasted fantastic. Home grown tomatoes always taste better! We all, kids included, loved this roasted heirloom tomato and herb marinara.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Halve or quarter the tomatoes, cut the onions and slice the garlic into slivers. Spread the tomatoes, onions and garlic all over the lined baking sheet. Slide the slivers of garlic into the tomato pieces to protect them from burning and to also infuse the tomatoes with garlic. Drizzle with olive oil over the top, then sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, crushed fennel seeds, and fresh oregano leaves, as well as sea salt and freshly cracked pepper; to taste; toss to coat.
Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes; or until vegetables are really soft and the tomatoes are still juicy. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Spoon the tomatoes, onions, garlic and juices into a small Dutch oven along with the tomato sauce then simmer covered for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until smooth, making sure there are no chunks. Add the vinegar then taste. Add more sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add the fresh basil then mix until well combined. Side Note: If you desire a sweeter sauce, add a pinch of sugar. If you want a thinner sauce, add a little chicken or vegetable broth, to taste.
Cook desired pasta in salted water, per instructions. Drain. Serve sauce tossed with your pasta then top with fresh basil and shaved Parmesan. Enjoy.