This recipe feels very summer-esque, and I just can’t help myself. This year has felt, well, you know, weird. Because, well, it has been, hasn’t it? SO. WEIRD.
So, right about now, I’m in this half summer-half-fall vibe and I’m just rolling with it.
As a thunderstorm literally rolls in, and the changing leaves fly off the trees from the wind, it seems I’m not the only one feeling in-between. Right there with you, Mother Nature.
So there you have it: the reason why we’re rolling with a cherry tomato recipe at the end of September.
As an in-between recipe, it’s also perfecting this time of year because it’s a flavorful way to enjoy those less-than-flavorful grocery store tomatoes that are our only option every winter.
Fresh vibes, even when it’s too cold to go outside, that’s what we’re going for.
THE BEAUTY OF OVEN ROASTED SAUCE
There are so many more things I love about this tomato sauce. Let me count the ways…
- It’s made in one pan. Yep, that’s right, only one baking dish required for this delicious sauce!
- Not only is it all done in one pan, but it’s a throw-and-go kind of sauce. Add all the ingredients in the dish, mix them up, and let the oven work its magic.
- Speaking of ingredients… you only need four ingredients. Five if you want to add red pepper flakes, and one if you’re like me and only count the cherry tomatoes in the ingredient list because everything else is already always in your pantry.
Olive oil, check.
Kosher salt, check.
Those are the essentials for all cooking, and ones that I say you should always have on hand.
4. It’s quick. For a weeknight dinner, this takes about 20-25 minutes to roast, and in that time you can make the pasta, or whatever else you decide to do with it (see next!), set the table, pour the wine…and before you know it dinner is ready in a flash.
5. It’s also so versatile, as in so many ways to use it.
Of course, you can serve it on spaghetti. Or any pasta shape, let’s be honest.
It comes out thick enough to spread on crostini (ahem, add a little burrata to make dreams come true), or to pair with other winter roasted vegetables. Many, many possibilities.
Tips & FAQ for Making Cherry Tomato Sauce
First, the answer to a question I know is going to come up: can I use grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes?
Yes, you absolutely can! If I’m being honest, I mix them up in the store basically every time.
What’s the real difference between the two? Well, their shape is a little different (think grape is oblong like grapes are, and cherry tomatoes are more round, like, well, cherries!).
Cherry tomatoes are a little more sweet, with a thinner skin, and they’re a little more watery. What’s interchanging them mean for the sauce? Not much to be honest.
I’d recommend if you’re using grape tomatoes, you may need to add more pasta water to the sauce to loosen, since cherry tomatoes do release a little more water when roasting.
You also may need to ‘squish’ them more, as their thicker skin may not on its own.
Speaking of squishing…and bursting… the tomatoes will burst in the oven. I recommend using a fork to help them with this process before the end of the cooking time.
Be careful when popping roasted tomatoes, as the cherry variety do like to squirt out. Using the back of a spoon to gently push down on them helps, too.
As the tomatoes burst, it allows their juices to thicken as part of the sauce in the roasting process. It’s a beautiful thing!
Adding pasta water is something that you need to do with any sauce you’re making (this applies if you’re pairing this sauce with pasta). When you add pasta water to any sauce, it helps the sauce adhere to the noodles, creating a cohesive dish.
In this recipe, the pasta water also helps the sauce loosen a bit more, and as it simmers with the pasta water, it thickens ever so slightly, creating a luxurious sauce that’s ready to pair with noodles.
This recipe is written to be S.I.M.P.L.E. — as in no frills, no gadgets, and straightforward.
That being said, because it is so versatile, there are a bunch of ways to jazz it up, mix it up, and adapt it.
First being: fresh herbs. Have them? Add them! You can roast the sauce with whole thyme or rosemary sprigs or add in some oregano. You can top the sauce with fresh basil.
You can change the texture! Use an immersion blender or regular blender and puree the tomatoes to create a smooth sauce as opposed to a chunky tomato sauce.
More Simple Tomato Recipes
- One Pan Creamy Tomato Spinach Gnocchi
- 5 Ingredient Blistered Tomato Pasta
- Simple Roasted Tomato Jam
- Roasted Tomato Carrot Ginger Soup
Get the Recipe Easy Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Add all the ingredients to a baking dish and stir to combine.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully poke or smash any cherry tomatoes that have not burst. Stir sauce together and return to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Carefully taste test to adjust salt levels as needed. If making with pasta, add 2-4 TBSP of pasta water to the sauce to loosen, and toss with spaghetti.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!