|A sesame flatbread cracker topped with herbed goat cheese and warm, roasted tomato sauce.|
I like to cook a huge pot of slow-simmered pasta sauce, store a bunch in the freezer, and have it at the ready. After all, if you don't plan ahead and stock up on homemade foods you're more likely to grab take-out. And take-out is more likely to be unhealthy than your homemade food.
But sometimes you want something fresher than that frozen (albeit delicious) sauce. And that's when you make this sauce! It's made with naturally sweet grape tomatoes, which you can generally find year-round. Tomatoes are a superfood, loaded with lycopene; vitamins A, C, and K; and potassium, a lack of this which can cause leg cramps, a problem for many pregnant women. Because this sauce includes the tomatoes' skins and seeds, we retain more of their fiber, too.
Basil is no nutritional slouch, either:it provides some calcium and iron and it's an excellent source of Vitamin K, necessary for proper blood clotting. In rare cases, newborns may be deficient; increasing your K intake can raise the levels in your breast milk.
- 2-3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4T extra virgin olive oil
- 2T balsamic vinegar
- couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
- salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4c chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a 9" X 13" baking dish, combine the oil, vinegar, red pepper, salt and pepper.
Toss the grape tomatoes, onions and garlic in the roasting pan, covering evenly in the oil. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the pan.
Roast in the oven about 20 minutes, stir, then bake about another 20-25 minutes, until the garlic and onions are tender and the tomatoes are soft and blistered.
Remove from oven and stir in the basil; the heat of the tomatoes will wilt the herbs.
You can toss this with hot pasta right away, use it to top a sandwich with fresh mozzarella, or just pile some on a cracker with goat cheese (as I did in the first photo). My family doesn't like chunky tomato sauce, so I just changed the consistency of mine with an immersion blender.
|The smoother version of the sauce.|
When dinnertime rolled around, I served it on hot pasta with a nice dollop of fresh ricotta (try my easy, creamy homemade ricotta!) and some grated parmesan. And some basil leaves, to be fancy for the photo.