5 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic (minced; divided)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80% lean, 20% fat)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 large onion (about 8 oz./225g, finely chopped)
6 ounces tomato paste (1 small can)
1 1/2 cups beef stock (or water)
1/2 cup dry red wine (that you enjoy drinking)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Cut the tomatoes into relatively large chunks. If using cherry or grape tomatoes, you can halve them or leave them whole.
Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon salt, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Then arrange them in a single layer across two large rimmed baking sheets.
Roast for 1 hour in the middle of the oven, stirring once or twice. The tomatoes should look wrinkled, with slight caramelization on the edges.
About 15 minutes before your tomatoes are done roasting, place a large dutch oven or deep pot over medium high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, along with the ground beef and pork. Stir, breaking up the chunks of ground meat into small crumbles. There is no need to brown or crisp them meat—cook just until it turns opaque.
Add the chopped onion and last 3 cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes.
By now the tomatoes should be done roasting. Add them to the pot, along with all their juices. Also add the tomato paste, beef stock, red wine, dried oregano, and black pepper, and sugar. Stir and bring to a low boil. Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for 3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, sugar) if needed. (At this point, you could serve the sauce with pasta, but we think it tastes best the next day. If you have time for this, allow it to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, heat the sauce back up on the stove. Boil pasta (we like using spaghetti, but any cut of pasta will work) according to package directions, cooking it for 1 minute less than prescribed. (It will finish cooking in the sauce.) When the pasta is just under al dente (again, 1 minute less than the minimum cooking time on the package instructions), drain it, reserving about ½-⅔ cup of pasta water.
Immediately add the pasta back to the pot, and ladle in the hot meat sauce, along with about ⅓ cup of hot pasta cooking water. Toss the pasta for 1 minute, giving it time to absorb the liquid from the sauce and cooking water.
Serve the pasta with fresh basil and parmesan cheese on top, along with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!