This roasted tomato sauce with pasta, made with cherry tomatoes that have been cooked to sweet perfection, olive oil, and garlic, is a quick and easy sauce. Break out your finest Italian grating cheese.
Sugo con Pomodorini Gratinati alla Calabrese. That’s how you say the proper title of this recipe in Italian. Uh, we can’t say that once, let alone three times fast. We also can’t get enough of the namesake roasted tomato sauce.
As an aside, sometimes—and we can’t believe we’re typing this—you CAN have too much of a good thing. Like pasta, for instance. We love it. But we love this roasted tomato sauce that clings to strands of pasta even more. Which means we tend to ease up on the amount of pasta suggested in this recipe, taking it down from a pound to 3/4 pound to ensure just the right proportion of jammy tomato goodness to carb heaven. But that’s us. Be true to you.–Renee Schettler Rossi
☞ Table of Contents
Roasted Tomato Sauce and Pasta
For the roasted tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon medium-fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound large cherry or grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 level teaspoon salt
- 1 level teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 1 level teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
For the pasta
- 3/4 to 1 pound pasta whether spaghetti or linguine or whatever
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or less to taste
- 6 heaping tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano, Caciocavallo, or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Make the roasted tomato sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Coat a large oven-to-table dish (such as a 9-by-13-inch baking dish) with 1 tablespoon oil. Place the tomatoes in the dish, cut side up and quite close together, in a single layer. Sprinkle with the chopped garlic, salt, and, if using, the oregano and red pepper flakes. Bake the tomatoes until they're quite soft, at least 30 minutes. They should be starting to color around the edges, but don’t let them brown. If you like your tomatoes rather shriveled, figure at least 35 to 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and keep the tomatoes warm until the pasta is ready (You can let the tomatoes cool to room temperature and reheat the tomatoes gently in a low oven while the pasta is cooking.)
Make the pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, probably 8 to 9 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and transfer it to the still-warm baking dish with the tomatoes. (If the baking dish won’t hold all the pasta, transfer the tomatoes to a serving bowl warmed with hot running water or even a ladleful of the pasta cooking water, and then add the pasta to the bowl.) Gently but thoroughly toss the tomatoes and the pasta, crushing the tomatoes as you mix them with the pasta. Mix in the remaining oil and cheese and toss again. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I am in love! Ladies and gents, file this roasted tomato sauce with pasta under Weeknight Winner® because it is crazy easy and crazy awesome.
There was some mighty fine fresh egg pappardelle at my market, so that was the pasta that had the great honor to accompany these little roasted ruby jewels. I tossed everything in the roasting pan without overflow. I highly recommend tossing the pasta in the roasting pan if you can, even if you have to do it in 2 batches. You’ll be getting all the prized bits and the deliciously seasoned oil clinging to the dish.
Please note, I did not use 5 tablespoons of olive oil to dress. I started with 2 and stopped there. You should, too, and add more based on the cut of pasta you’ve chosen (surface area to cover). Lastly, go for the sharper cheese like Pecorino or Locatelli Romano, and make sure it’s grated into dust, not shredded. I will secretly tell you I went back for thirds, but I will justify the action by saying the second helping wasn’t really a full helping at all. (Shhh!)
A few testing notes: Halve the tomatoes lengthwise so each of the halves gets a part of the tiny stem and core. I used dried oregano only and the full amount of red pepper flakes. I chose an 8-by-11 inch glass baking dish to roast the tomatoes.
I have great appreciation for a meal that can be prepared quickly on a busy weeknight but that also incorporates fresh ingredients. This roasted tomato sauce and pasta dish really fits the bill. Everybody loved it. There was plenty of flavor in the dish—so much so that no one mentioned the absence of a protein. It was fantastic.
Using the smaller grape tomatoes made it interesting to place the tomatoes in the dish cut side up, but I placed them in the dish snugly to keep them from falling over. The tomatoes filled most of the dish. When the pasta was ready, I drained it and transferred it to the baking dish with the tomatoes. Everything fit into the dish. It was a full dish and took some care to gently crush the tomatoes while tossing the pasta, but it made for a lovely presentation.
I now have a reason to go meatless on Mondays—and every other day of the week. This roasted tomato sauce and pasta was such an easy and delightful pasta dish.
I love the technique of roasting the tomatoes first and then just adding the pasta right to the dish. The Pecorino and olive oil add layers of flavor, while the roasted tomatoes gives the dish a well-rounded sweetness.
I followed the recipe exactly, using the dried oregano, cheese, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. I loved it. I want to play with the recipe to see how far I can take it, but not because it wasn’t delicious from the start. I could see this working with fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, fresh mozzarella, and so much more.
I used angel hair pasta, and loved the texture of the long noodles with the roasted tomatoes. I used a 9-by-11-inch casserole dish and still couldn’t quite fit all the tomatoes in a single layer. This size was perfect to add the pasta directly to the dish (I’m pro doing less dishes!). This has become a weeknight staple when we’re too tired to cook a big meal. It’s fast, simple, and oh so filling. Definitely a keeper.
This roasted tomato sauce and pasta is an easy weeknight dish for you! You can pop the tomatoes in the oven and let them roast while you boil your water and cook your pasta.
The roasting concentrates the flavors and makes even a store-bought cherry tomato taste pretty darn good. But if it’s summer and you have tomatoes in your back yard, more power to you. And because this recipe uses cherry tomatoes, which tend to be pretty sweet and flavorful even if you have to buy them in the supermarket, this dish can be a way to break out of winter doldrums and have a taste of summer in the middle of cold season.
The quantity of tomatoes here for the full amount of pasta called for will give a very lightly sauced pasta. If you prefer a higher ratio of sauce to pasta, scale up the tomatoes.
I’m really learning to love easy pasta dishes. The house smelled amazing with the garlic and herbs. Would definitely make this again. Great option for Meatless Mondays!
I didn’t have spaghetti on hand and had to use mini penne instead. I liked the flavors of the roasted tomato sauce but felt that the proportion of tomatoes to pasta was just a little off (a tad too much pasta). I think spaghetti or linguine noodles would have served all that baked goodness much better than the penne I used.
I found this roasted tomato sauce and pasta to be very simple to prepare, a delicious weeknight meal, and a change of pace from the usual. Roasting the tomatoes was new to me but seems to make the dish shine.
Putting this together is a snap–just the cook pasta until al dente, mix, and serve. I used a large serving bowl and put a colander in it for draining the pasta so the hot water warmed the dish. Then I put a little over half the tomatoes in the dish and crushed them a little with a fork, then tossed in the pasta, olive oil, and cheese, and then the rest of the tomatoes.
I didn’t have fresh cherry tomatoes available, so I had to use store-bought Cherubs salad tomatoes, which are large grape tomatoes.They worked well. The package was 2 pounds, so I just did them all as directed, using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish for the tomatoes, which I coated with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic, oregano, salt, and red pepper.
As my prime taster—read “wife”—is gluten intolerant, I used a GF zitti pasta by Barilla. It’s by far the best GF pasta I have come across.
Overall, this recipe works very well as written and results in a very light dish that would lend itself well to those hot summer nights when fresh tomatoes are in abundance. It has a tomato-y sweetness that I found delightful and the use of Pecorino Romano cheese added an extra dimension. I did feel that there was a little something missing, and I found it in the leftovers. The rest of the pasta went in fridge for another meal that was the spaghetti with the addition of some chopped kalamata olives that took it over the top. It may be a nice addition to this recipe.
Will definitely be making this again.
I greatly enjoyed this roasted tomato sauce and pasta dish! I loved that it displayed such simplicity of ingredients yet achieved such complex flavors.
I served the sauce with thin spaghetti. I chose not to use the entire pound of pasta as it seemed like too much compared to the amount of sauce and I wanted the flavor of the sauce to really shine. I also added chopped fresh basil just before serving and it was a lovely addition. This is the perfect dish to enjoy on a warm summer evening with a nice crisp white wine. I look forward to making this again!
You’re pressed for time but want to make dinner that looks like you put a little more effort than making grilled cheese sandwiches. I tried this roasted tomato sauce on one of those evenings and it was just the thing to make. It couldn’t have been easier to get dinner ready and, to be honest, I doubt I’ll measure any of the ingredients next time. (I figure Calabrian home cooks probably do it the taste-as-you-go style.)
Roasting made my out-of-season tomatoes taste better and they benefited from having Pecorino and chili flakes as sidekicks. But if you have gloriously flavorful tomatoes that don’t need as much enhancement, just go easy on the cheese and chili pepper. And do make sure you bake your tomatoes in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta to avoid having to get out (and dirty) another bowl.
This roasted tomato sauce and pasta was simple, zesty, and irresistible! The roasted tomatoes produced a sweet and jammy sauce for the spaghetti. This pasta was full of flavor and will definitely be one I’ll do again!
Next time, I would roast 1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, as we wanted a bite of tomato with each forkful and didn’t think 1 pound was enough. I used spaghetti and it served 4 hungry people. I used Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish the dish. The red pepper flakes could’ve been a little more added to the dish for more spiciness or have it on the table.
To save a step, I roasted the tomatoes in a large ovenproof skillet and tossed the drained pasta on top with a little pasta water.
This roasted tomato sauce is one-dish meal that’s comforting, easy, and attractive—bringing a little Italy to this summer!
I used an assortment of cherry and grape tomatoes, both red and yellow, but all definitely of the winter—that is, out of season—variety. When I saw the mixed packages at the store, I thought the variety of colors would be attractive. I skipped the optional oregano.
I was wondering about how substantial the dish would be, and opted for whole wheat rotini. I roasted the tomatoes in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish for a full hour before they were at the perfect starting-to-color-around-the-edges stage. Then I finished cooking the pasta. I added the drained pasta to the tomato roasting dish, which was large enough to accommodate the pasta along with the tomatoes. The tomatoes crushed easily as I tossed them together with the pasta, remaining oil, and cheese. I served the pasta right out of the baking dish, so there was minimal cleanup after dinner. There was additional cheese available and more red pepper flakes.
I really like finding a recipe that lets out-of-season produce shine, and appreciate the lovely simplicity of this uncomplicated dish.
Delicious! I made the roasted tomato sauce as written and it was a satisfying, simple, spicy dinner.
When I came home from the market I discovered that I only had half the amount of tomatoes so I made half a recipe, using 1/2 pound whole wheat linguini as the pasta. The nuttiness of the pasta complemented the sauce quite nicely. When I make this again, I might use some of the extra olive oil when roasting the tomatoes and try penne or another shorter pasta. I also saved some of the pasta water to add to the sauce.
When we begin a wonderful meal with a new recipe to try, there is sometimes a quiet moment when everyone is just experiencing something that is new and very good. This roasted tomato sauce and pasta recipe works exactly as described and is simply “wonder-land-i-ful” (as a young person we know says).
I have three words for the recipe: simple, beautiful, and delicious. Such simple ingredients, wonderful color, and the spices are perfect.
It took just a few minutes to slice the cherry tomatoes in half, add the herbs, and pop them in the oven. Oh, and the smell was SO wonderful while they were baking. I tossed the roasted gems with some angle hair pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano and served. Everyone loved!!!
A teaspoon of red pepper flakes was too hot for some of my testers. I remade another batch with 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. That amount provided a nice light heat that all enjoyed. I used red grape and yellow cherry tomatoes for nice contrasting colors. I’d like to try serving this over spaghetti squash next time.
This roasted tomato sauce is an easy, weeknight meal and is a good thing to make when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season. I used mixed cherry tomatoes. All the beautiful colors and shapes added beauty to the dish.
This is simple to prepare and really highlights the flavor of the tomatoes. Perfect for a weeknight meal. Put the tomatoes in the oven while you have a glass of wine and heat the water for the pasta.
This roasted tomato sauce was easy to make and the flavor was good.
This made a lot. I used cherry tomatoes and fresh basil as opposed to red pepper flakes. And I used the full amount of pasta. Because the quantity of tomatoes is so large and the quantity of pasta is even larger, you would have to use a very large dish to start. It would be easier to cook the tomatoes on a sheet pan and cook the pasta separately to combine later.
I would use a lot less pasta because I loved the flavor of the tomatoes and would like a bigger tomato to pasta ratio. Also, it would be nice to add both basil and pepper flakes or maybe add lemon zest with the fresh basil.
Originally published September 24, 2018