Slow-roasting coaxes deep, vibrant flavors from even the most out-of-season produce, especially tomatoes. The thick, not-quite-creamy texture of this sauce brings a satisfying, rich tomato sauce to your table no matter the time of year!
MAKES FOUR SERVINGS
4 pounds roma tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
Heat oven to 300° F.
Nestle the tomatoes and onions on a sheet pan or into a large baking dish. If using a 9x13, 2 pans will be needed.
Drizzle the olive oil over everything, then toss gently to coat. Drizzle the wine over the sheet pan, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.
Roast the tomatoes and onions in the oven for approximately three hours. They should shrink and dry out quite a bit, but not completely. Check them every 15 minutes toward the end of cooking. Roast longer if necessary or if using a large variety of tomato.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the tomatoes cool until they can be transferred to a food processor or blender. Process in short bursts until the mixture starts to become homogenous but not quite smooth. It should be quite thick. Transfer the sauce to a large skillet or a container to refrigerate to use the next day.
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions, reserving 1-2 cups of pasta water before straining.
While the pasta is boiling, add 1 cup of reserved pasta water to the skillet with the sauce and stir it in. Bring it to a gentle simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the mascarpone and red pepper flakes, if using.
Transfer the pasta to the skillet and gently stir them in to combine them with the sauce. Let them simmer in the sauce for one or two minutes, stirring gently and adding more pasta water if necessary to keep the texture loose.
Serve topped with cheese and basil.
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Chef's Note: Other types of tomatoes can be used in this recipe, but the roasting time may have to be longer as most other tomato varieties have more juice that will have to evaporate from the fruit to deepen the flavor. Do not use a cast iron skillet for this recipe. The acid from the tomatoes will corrode the skillet and it will have to be seasoned again. Heavy cream or cream cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone, if desired.