Making pasta in tomato sauce is almost as old as time. Nothing special really. So why then would I be so excited about publishing a pasta in jammy tomato sauce? Well, the answer to the question is quite obvious once you make it and try this dish yourself.
I feel like I have to make a confession before I give you the recipe for this tomato sauce in jammy tomato sauce. Here it is! I actually almost never made this recipe. In fact, the final form of this recipe is not where it was supposed to end up. You see, the star of this recipe is tomato paste. I rarely ever use tomato paste. It has something to do with my general snobbery for anything that comes out of a can. But here I am asking you to trust me that tomato paste can be the star of a show.
Maybe my about-face also has something to do with living in a pandemic where grocery store visits should be few and far between. Suddenly I find myself reaching for canned foods even as I buy fresh vegetables and fruits. Those fresh vegetables and fruits eventually torment when they start to show signs of rotting while my canned goods wait patiently for me.
This recipe started because I had half a can of smoked sardines I needed to use. I also had an Alison Roman recipe using tomato paste and anchovies I was going to try. Then my fresh tomatoes started going bad so I had to really overhaul the recipe. Spoiler Alert! I decided to keep this dish vegan because the sauce was so good without the sardines.
The one thing I will tell you about this recipe is that it demands patience. Anything less than patience, and you will completely miss an opportunity to have the best pasta in jammy tomato sauce. The description “jammy” really comes from the way the sugars in the onions add so much flavor once you allow the vegetable caramelize slowly in the pan. When you feel tempted to rush, remember that this whole recipe has very few ingredients, no herbs, and no spices. The flavor comes from allowing time to work magic as you cook.
So with that said, the recipe for pasta in jammy tomato sauce will be below. I’ll recommend using a pasta that has corners and crevices with this tomato sauce. You really want the sauce to hang on to the pasta when you toss it in. Enjoy!
Pasta in Jammy Tomato Sauce
- 16 oz Pasta
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Onions (medium-sized) *sliced
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 3 Garlic Cloves *sliced
- 1 tsp Salt *+ more for pasta water
- 1/2 Crushed Roma Tomatoes *2 Large Roma tomatoes
- Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta.
- In a deep pot, set on low-medium heat, add in the vegetable oil and the sliced onions. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir frequently and allow to cook for 20 minutes. Onion slices with shrink, release water then gradually gain brown coloring. Onion slices are properly caramelized with they stop releasing moisture and have a light brown color. Make sure you keep your eye on it. Onions go from caramelized to burnt quickly
- Once onions are cooked, add in the garlic. Cook for a minute until garlic is fragrant then add tomato paste.
- Stir tomato paste into the onion-garlic mixture. Cook for a few minutes until it changes color from bright red to brownish-red. Then pour in the crushed tomatoes. Cook until the sauce is reduced again and loses moisture completely. Take off heat.
- Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain the rest.
- Pour the cooked pasta into the tomato sauce. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to loosen up sauce and dress the pasta. Taste the pasta and adjust salt if needed. You can add more pasta water if needed. Enjoy.