Roasted Fresh Tomato Sauce

Growing up as your basic middle-class WASP American, my view of Italian food was one that is pretty common among most folks today: thick, ragu-like sauce over some kind of meat (maybe breaded, maybe sausage), and covered with cheese over some kind of pasta. What I've learned since getting to know my Sicilian mother-in-law (Maria), is that there is a really wonderful, light, fresh approach to pasta that is more southern/Sicilian. Not to say the heavy, cheese goo that we know as "Italian" in this country has been imported wholesale form Northern Italy. My sense is that our concept of Italian has been loosely based on a northern Italian cuisine, then run through the American "add tons of fat and meat and over do everything" food converter to appeal to Americans.

The recipe that follows is an invention of mine that combines a bunch of stuff I've learned from Maria over the years. The idea for the tinfoil grilling comes from my brother-in-law, Brady, who loves asparagus cooked over the bbq grate in a similar fashion.

In the summer, we rarely cook indoors, so we're always trying to find a good grill solution. Maria has 18 tomato plants, so we're flush in ripe, perfect tomatoes. She's also got gobs and gobs of fresh basil, which freezes wonderfully. Maria always adds a bit of a bullion cube to fresh tomato sauce, instead of salt. A neat idea, but we use the vegan version here.

This is a great way to use fresh, overly ripe tomatoes. And quick too.

Yield: this recipe makes enough sauce for a 1/2 pound of pasta or so. Enough for the three of us for a single meal; or for an equivalent amount of Eggplant Parm.


  • 2 lbs of fresh tomoatoes. Quartered or halved.
  • two cloves of garlic: chopped
  • a bit of fresh basil; small handful?
  • Tablespoon or so of olive oil
  • 1/2 cube of vegan vegetable bullion cube. Or equivalent salt.


  1. Fire up the grill.
  2. Using heavy duty tinfoil, make a little tray for grilling the tomato mixture.
  3. Put the cut-up tomatoes, garlic, and basil on the tinfoil tray. Drizzle with oil.
  4. Put the tinfoil tray of tomatoes on the grill for 10 minutes or so. You're looking for sizzling oil and the edges of the garlic/tomatoes to just begin to brown.
  5. Carefully remove the tray from the grill. I use a pizza peel. Pour the hot tomato mixture into a bowl with the 1/2 bullion cube or salt. Give the mixture a few stirs to disolve the cube/salt
  6. Run the hot mixture through a food mill with large holes to remove the skin but still retain some texture.

  7. The sauce is ready to roll. Toss it with pasta or add oregeno for a pizza sauce or whatever.

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