Caramelized Tomato & Onion Marinara

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Did You Know? During the nineteenth century, American cookbooks warned that tomatoes should be cooked for a minimum of three hours before eating to eliminate the raw taste. People were cautioned not to eat tomatoes raw because they were still suspected to be poisonous.

Every spring I conjure up a list of vegetables for my Dad to include in "our" vegetable garden. Somehow when it's time to actually build the garden, it becomes "his" garden. I love all of the outcomes of the finished garden when summer rolls in, but I'd much rather get my Dad a drink every now and then, than to dig up a garden with him.

So after much directing on my part and building on my Dad's part, the garden gets finished, and then we wait. It's always exciting to see the first few fruits, but then I usually forget about the garden all together until my Dad starts complaining that he made me this vegetable garden that I begged for, and the vegetables just sit down there, waiting to be cooked.

This summer, like all other summers, we had an abundance of tomatoes: beefsteak, grape, cherry, pear...I had been researching recipes, and that's when I thought of my Mema, and how my Dad always said she made the best spaghetti sauce when he was younger. Knowing that if I called her she wouldn't be able to remember how she actually made her sauce, I decided to think of something on my own. I looked at a few recipes for some ideas, but all of them were pretty basic. Incorporating flavors that I love with the ingredients at hand, I ended up with a pretty tasty sauce. Sweet from the caramelized onions, and rich from the roasted cherry tomatoes, this sauce is sure to liven up any dish it's added to...

Caramelized Tomato & Onion Marinara
Cherry tomatoes...enough to fill a large baking sheet when sliced in half
8 Beefsteak tomatoes, cored and diced into large chunks
2 Sweet onions
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400

Slice cherry tomatoes in half and toss on a baking sheet with a generous splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until skins have browned and are caramelized all over, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the caramelized onions. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Add sliced onions, salt, and pepper. When onions become translucent, lower heat a little and continue to cook until onions are a deep, golden brown. The whole process take about 45 minutes.

When onions are done, add roasted cherry and beefsteak tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine everything, cover, and cook on medium heat until tomatoes break down and form a sauce. Working in batches, puree sauce in a blender or food processor. Add sauce back into the pot and simmer for about an hour with the lid half on. When finished tear up some fresh basil, add it to the pot, and enjoy all your future creations!

This recipe makes a ton of sauce. I usually freeze some to enjoy throughout the year.

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