A delicious rustic pasta dish featuring rigatoni noodles in a simple homemade oven roasted tomato sauce topped with ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
Pasta dishes with a simple homemade sauce like this are some of my favorite meals to make. This roasted tomato sauce and my homemade pesto sauce both really allow the fresh ingredients to shine. Both are also great to make ahead and freeze for a taste of summer on those long cold winter nights.
- Fresh ripe tomatoes
- Olive oil divided
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Tomato paste
- Fresh basil
- Rigatoni pasta
- Ricotta and finely shredded Parmesan cheeses for topping
What type of tomatoes to use for sauce
This roasted tomato sauce is best in summer when juicy ripe tomatoes are at their peak. Choose the freshest and ripest looking tomatoes you can find. I think this is more important than the type you choose. 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.
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. If using canned tomatoes, skip the roasting.
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 to concentrate the sweetness of fresh ripe tomatoes for an even better result. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F, then remove the tomato cores and quarter them. Toss gently with 2 tablespoons of olive oil then season liberally with salt and pepper. Then arrange in a single layer cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes.
While the tomatoes cook, go ahead and bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta. I prefer to use rigatoni in this dish for their rustic look but any pasta you choose will work.
How to make roasted tomato sauce
After the tomatoes have been roasted and removed from the oven 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, less rustic sauce you can transfer to a blender and blend until smooth or process through a food mill then return to the pot. You can also cook it down longer if you want it thicker.
How to prepare the pasta
After cooking your pasta sauce add the cooked noodles from earlier to the pot 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.
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.