I like talking about food, and about cooking in particular.
Actually, this became my main premise for meeting new people after immigrating: I guessed that when they’re interested in food, there is a big chance that we might like each other! So I really hope my new Italian food friend will approve of this Oven roasted tomato sauce with bell pepper that I served over pasta.
Meeting new people when you moved to a new country can be tough, especially when you don’t have kids or a dog. When my cats go out, they’ll never bring back a person with them. Mice, yes. Lizards, definitely. Humans? Never! I guess I’m on my own in this.
A proved method is reaching out to people, mostly women by the way, who have a food related job. Like food bloggers, cooking instructors. And so I met Maria Luisa Manca, a passionate Sicilian that teaches Italian cooking in the South Bay.
We set a date for last week and I hoped the coffee shop I suggested made good enough coffee. Despite they roast their beans themselves, my new food friend wasn’t really happy. She told me how she trained her local Starbucks staff to make a proper Italian espresso: like a strong shot.
It was the start of a nice long talk about food. What we like to cook, what we miss from our old countries (cheese and specific pastries mainly) and what is good about living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We even shared some teaching tricks.
… living a new life also means cooking in a new way
This recipe for Oven roasted tomato sauce with bell pepper is all about adapting. If you like it sweet, add more bell peppers and even some extra onion as they will sweeten up by the roasting. If you like to have a good tomato flavor, leave them out.
Oven roasted tomato sauce with bell pepper – vegetarian | vegan
If you’re turning on your oven, why don’t you make it yourself easier for other days and throw in some more veggies then you’ll actually need today? You can always bag up extras and freeze for days it’s too hot to turn on the oven or you want to be fast.
From this quantity I made 3 different sauces for 2 people. One a bit sweeter with all the bell peppers, the second with only tomatoes and onions and the last with only tomatoes so I can spice up that one to my liking on the day I will use it.
I used for 3 portions for 2:
2 red onions
2 red bell peppers
3 leftover strawberries – optional of course
good splash of olive oil
salt + pepper
I served one portion with:
3.5 oz | 100 g penne
2 tablespoons dried oregano
salt + pepper
shaved (young) Pecorino (Italian sheep cheese)
Prepare the veggies. Half the tomatoes. Peel the onion and cut in big parts. Spread out on a baking tray with parchment paper. Lay the bell peppers on the side. Pour a nice splash of olive oil over the veggies and lay the tomatoes on their back (cut side on top). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the veggies. Turn on the oven at 400 F | 200 C and roast the red veggies until tomatoes are getting soft, about 45 minutes. With thongs, turn bell peppers every now and then.
Tip: Yes, you don’t have to preheat your oven for most savory dishes! It saves energy, which is not only great on hot Californian energy saving days, but always. Although, I must admit, it’s a habit both to turn it on when I start to cook and to write that down in a recipe – even if I didn’t preheat it when I was cooking!
Peel the bell pepper. Put the bell peppers in a plastic bag, loosely close it and after 10 minutes the skin can be peeled off easily.
Purée the sauce. I used both bell peppers, half the onions and a quart of the tomatoes for my dinner that night (see below).
Made another sauce with the rest of the onions and half of the tomatoes, and one sauce very plain with only tomatoes. The two bags now live in my freezer.
Serve the sauce. I cooked penne and spiced up my Oven roasted tomato sauce with bell pepper with 2 tablespoons oregano, some salt and pepper and served it with some shaved (young) Pecorino on top.
More ideas with the Oven roasted tomato sauce (with or without onions and bell pepper):
* thin with (vegetable) stock for a quick soup,
* use with meatballs,
* throw in a pilaf style rice dish, similar to what I did here with leftover braising liquid, or
* top a pizza of course!
Hope you give it a try!