Rich, creamy pasta sauce with sweet onions, savory tomatoes, peppery seasonings and sharp parmesan. This sauce is versatile and easy to throw together with things you probably already have.
For the sauce
- 2 medium vidalia or other sweet onions, halved, bottoms removed, and skin left on
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more
- 2-3 cloves garlic, skin on
- 28-oz can whole tomatoes, including juice
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 5 large basil leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
For the pasta
- 1 lb dried gnocchi
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sweet Onion Tomato Sauce
- Optional: 2 cups kale, sliced into thin ribbons
- Blender or large food processor
To make the sauce
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF
- Lay the onions flat side up in a small pan (such as a loaf pan) and drizzle them with one tablespoon of olive oil. Turn them flat side down.
- Place the garlic cloves on a little bit of foil and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat them. Wrap them up and put them in the pan with the onions.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown.
- Meanwhile, warm a large pan over medium heat and add the oil.
- Once the oil shimmers, add the tomatoes and their juices along with the oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer.
- Turn the heat on the tomatoes down to low and continue to simmer, breaking the tomatoes down with a wooden spoon as they soften* (tomatoes should cook for about 30 minutes, or until the onions come out of the oven).
- Remove the pan from the oven and let everything cool until you can safely touch it. Remove the skin from the onions and unwrap and peel the garlic.
- Place the onions, garlic, tomato mixture and all remaining ingredients in a large food processor or blender and pulse pulse until smooth.
- Serve with gnocchi, any other pasta, or even meats or pizza.
To put together the gnocchi
- Toward the end of the onions’ cooking time, cook the gnocchi to al dente as directed by instructions.
- Once the gnocchi is in the water, heat a large pan over medium heat (you can use the same one you used for the sauce if you just made it)†.
- Add a little oil and once it shimmers, sauté the kale (if using) for a minute or so.
- Once the gnocchi is done, add it to the pan along with the kale and mix lightly.
- Add 2-3 cups of the sauce to your liking and mix to cover all the gnocchi.
- Remove the pan from heat and serve warm!
- * Really do wait until the tomatoes soften up a bit and release some juices to start breaking them down. If you don’t and there is something white within 50 feet of your kitchen, it will get sprayed with tomato juice.
- † I know it makes more dishes, but I recommend using a medium-sized sauce pan for the tomatoes, as it will be easier to pour them into the blender or food processor.
- Of course you can always sub in frozen basil or partially dried basil for the fresh if you have that. Dried basil is fine too, it just won’t pack as much of a punch. Start with a teaspoon and add more to taste.
- If you’re particularly opposed to adding the cream or don’t have any on hand, you can leave it out. I would recommend adding a little more parmesan and maybe a splash of half and half or a spoonful or two of greek yogurt instead for a similar effect. I wouldn’t bother with milk.
Keywords: sweet onion tomato sauce with gnocchi, sweet onion tomato sauce, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, gnocchi