This sauce could not be simpler, but it packs so much flavour, I can’t stop making it. It takes a while (about 4 hours) but you’re not doing much during that time, other than stirring it every hour or so. The idea is that you slowly roast tinned tomatoes with cherry tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic and olive oil until it’s really reduced, intensely tomato-flavoured and jammy. Too intensely flavoured if anything, at this point, but then you add just enough mascarpone to cut through the intensity, and round out any sharpness – it’s SUCH a delicious sauce, I can’t bang my drum about this one enough.
Pictured here with home-made malloreddus (gnocchi sardi) but it’s every bit as delicious on dried pasta, and would make the simplest weeknight supper if you did use dried pasta.
Roasted tomato and mascarpone pasta sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (use the best quality you can find, I like Cirio or Napolina)
- 1 tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 60g cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
- Salt and black pepper
- 50g mascarpone
- ~300g fresh pasta (more like 250g if using dried pasta)
- Vegetarian parmesan-style cheese to serve
- Heat the oven to 140’c/120’c fan/gas mark 1.
- Combine the tinned tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, tomato puree and garlic in a small roasting dish, and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for 3.5 hours, stirring it every hour or so during the cooking time.
- Remove from the oven after 3.5 hours by which point it should be well reduced. Scrape it into either a food processor or stick blender jug, and add the mascarpone. Blitz until completely smooth, and taste to check seasoning – add more salt and/or black pepper if necessary.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the pasta and cook until it’s just al dente.
- Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Usually it’s good to add a little of the pasta cooking water to your sauce, but in this case you’ve spent so long reducing the sauce and intensifying that flavour, you don’t want to dilute it, so I don’t add any water in this case.
- Serve immediately, with grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese on top.