Slow-roasted roma tomatoes, realllllly slow roasted for seven hours or so in a low gentle oven till the skins are shriveled and the flesh is dark blood red, are GLORIOUS. The most effortless dish I have ever made, and easily one of the most vibrantly flavorful.
I've always enjoyed making tomato sauce, that most friendly and useful of basics, but have struggled with the production of a truly tomatoey rendition. This is probably because the State of the Tomato in this country is in tatters. But I've just found out that the slow-roasting of even a crappy bunch of tomatoes brings out that elusive punch of tomato flavor that my sauces usually fail to attain*, even with the addition of red wine, sugar, tomato paste, or other enrichments. Of course, it makes the preparation of a tomato sauce an all-day affair, technically, as you've got the oven going for a good 7 to 9 hours depending on oven temp. But it is WORTH IT to have morsels of tart-sweet goodness you can eat like YUMMY CANDY, or simply food-process or finely chop and saute for a quick sauce to toss with pasta. And you didn't have to go to the irritatingly snobby gourmet foods store to buy THEIR fire-roasted tomatoes for eight dollars a jar or something because two pounds of crappy-ish roma tomatoes only cost you two bucks.
I am supposed to be working on a paper on farmers' reactions to the Country Life movement for Ag History and reading a fascinating treatise on antebellum crop production for same. And I do.not.want.to.do.it.
I think I'll go make myself another bowl of pasta.
A lot of roma tomatoes, sliced in half from top to bottom
Extra-virgin olive oil
Arrange sliced tomatoes on baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried spices. Roast for about 6 hours in a 275 oven, 7 or 8 in a 250 oven. (Obviously the lower the temperature the longer it'll take.) Tomatoes are "done" when they're darker red and shriveling--these can go for a long time, so if they're not done to your liking, simply roast them longer. Eat as is or chop, mix into fresh-cooked pasta with cheese, or whatever dish you would like to possess a dynamite tomato flavor.
*in my view, at least; like most cooks, I'm my own toughest critic.