Mopping up a delicious sauce with good bread is always the best part of a pasta meal, am I right?  So why not get right to the point and make this saucy appetizer – no pasta required.  This recipe is so easy to make but requires just a little patience on your part.  Trust me, cooking Roma tomatoes down into a jammy luscious sauce dotted with mozzarella, is definitely worth the wait.  If you want, you could even do the initial roast a couple days in advance and then reheat and add the cheese just before serving.  I warn you though, you won’t be able to stop eating this.

1 tbsp olive oil

12-16 Roma tomatoes

1/4 cup butter, cubed

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup red wine

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

250g fresh mozzarella

2 tbsp balsamic

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350F

  1. Coat a large baking dish (9×13) with the olive oil.

  2. Remove the stem end from each tomato and cut them lengthwise. Place tomatoes cut side down into the baking dish.

  3. Dot the tomatoes with butter and add the whole garlic cloves along with the red wine and salt and pepper.

  4. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours (yes 2 hours) until the skins are charred, tomatoes have softened and much of the liquid has evaporated.

  5. Remove tomatoes from the oven and carefully peel the skin off each tomato and discard.

  6. Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes and garlic together. Feel free to leave some larger chunks of tomato along with the other mashed bits.

  7. Break the mozzarella into small bite sized pieces and scatter evenly over the sauce.  Return to the oven to bake for another 10min.

  8. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil and scatter fresh basil over the top.

  9. Go to town with a baguette.

TIP: If you want to make ahead you can prepare this dish up to step 6. When you are ready to serve, simply increase the cooking time in step 7 to 20min and continue.

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