This rigatoni with roasted tomato sauce is a delicious rustic pasta dish featuring rigatoni noodles in an easy homemade oven-roasted tomato sauce topped with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses.
Why This Recipe Works
Simple, rustic pasta dishes with a homemade sauce like this are some of my favorite meals to make. With just a few ingredients, this fresh roasted tomato sauce is simple to prepare and roasting the tomatoes concentrates the sweet flavors of the fresh tomatoes.
You can use this fresh roasted tomato sauce for dipping crusty bread or in dishes like chicken parmesan, but my favorite way to serve it is over pasta with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil.
This meal is perfect for a hearty and rustic Sunday supper all summer long!
And for another delicious dish with fresh tomato sauce, check out my Chicken Pomodoro recipe. This easy 30 minute dinner features pan-seared chicken cutlets smothered in flavorful pomodoro sauce.
- Fresh ripe tomatoes - I used vine ripened tomatoes in this sauce, but for a thicker sauce you could use Roma tomatoes, which have more flesh and fewer seeds.
- Garlic and Onion - These additions will help balance the sauce and add flavor to the dish.
- Rigatoni pasta - These large shaped pasta noodles are a perfect pairing with this rustic homemade tomato sauce. You can substitute other varieties if you prefer.
- Ricotta cheese - This is an optional addition, but stirring in a large spoonful of ricotta helps to balance out the acidity and adds a creamy texture to the dish.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
What Type of Tomatoes to Use for Pasta Sauce
This roasted tomato pasta sauce is best in summer when juicy ripe tomatoes are at their peak. Choose the freshest and ripest tomatoes you can find.
Different varieties will have different textures and flavors, but almost any tomato will work for this recipe. The only type I would avoid are small cherry or grape tomatoes because there is too much skin compared to the amount of tomato flesh.
If tomatoes are out of season canned tomatoes are probably the best option, but roma or plum tomatoes are the best choice for tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes outside of summer.
How to Roast Tomatoes
A quick-cooked fresh tomato sauce is delicious, but roasting your tomatoes in the oven will cook off some of the excess moisture and concentrate the sweetness of fresh tomatoes for an even better result.
- Start by preheating your oven to 400°F, then remove the tomato cores and quarter them.
- Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
How to Make Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 cup of diced onion and cook until softened, around 3-4 minutes. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
- Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and cook for another minute, again stirring constantly, until slightly darkened.
- Add the roasted tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the basil and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth or process it through a food mill, then return it to the pot. You can also cook it down longer if you want it thicker.
How to Serve the Pasta
Cook your noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 7-9 minutes, until al dente. Add the noodles to your prepared sauce and stir until all of the noodles are coated.
Scoop the pasta and sauce into bowls then top with a scoop of ricotta cheese and a dusting of finely grated Parmesan cheese then serve.
Make Ahead Instructions
The roasted tomato sauce freezes really well so it's great to make a large batch and freeze some for later.
To freeze the tomato sauce, make it as directed through step 4. Transfer to a storage container and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. To use the sauce allow it to thaw and use on pasta, pizza, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Peeling fresh tomatoes for pasta is optional. If you prefer a smoother sauce you will want to peel them. A food mill is perfect for processing the roasted tomatoes to easily remove the skins.
However, in this recipe I am going for a rustic sauce so I do not peel them.
If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can blend it in a blender or food processor after cooking it. Note that blending the sauce will incorporate air into it, causing it to turn orange.
More Pasta Recipes
Rigatoni with Roasted Tomato Sauce
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 16 ounces Rigatoni pasta
- Ricotta and shredded Parmesan cheeses, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil then season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet with the cut side up. Cook for around 35 to 40 minutes then remove from oven.
- When the tomatoes are around halfway through cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente according to the package instructions then drain.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat then add onion and cook until softened, around 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute, again stirring constantly, until slightly darkened. Add the roasted tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the basil and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir. Cook for another minute then portion into bowls. Top with a scoop of ricotta cheese and shredded Parmesan before serving.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.