My friends Sandra and John inspired this recipe by serving up a sensational tomato sugo for lunch at theirs.

The key, it turned out, was in low- and slow-ing the toms.

I’ve mangled their method a little, to make it even easier to recreate, but the essence is there. They couldn’t agree on whose recipe it was, and now I think we can all agree that it’s, well, everyone’s. Whack these on top of the bruschetta overleaf for peak Italianality.

MAKES 1 X 3 CUP (750 ML) JAR 


1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) truss cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
salt flakes, to taste
5–6 large garlic cloves, halved
chilli flakes, to taste


Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F).

Pop the cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray, still attached to their trusses (green vines). Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the tomatoes, sprinkle with the sugar and salt, then scatter the garlic and chilli flakes over the top making sure the garlic is submerged in the oil.

Roast for 11/2–2 hours, until the tomatoes are very tender, but still keep their shape. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Ease off the garlic skins.

Use immediately, or transfer the tomatoes and their lovely herby oil to a clean 3 cup (750 ml) container with a tight-fitting lid. They will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; just return them to room temperature or warm them gently before serving.


If you’d prefer a more delicate mouthfeel, consider peeling the skins off your tomatoes. The easiest way is to slice off the tops and use this point to pet, after momentarily dunking into building water, then popping straight into a bowl. No need to fiddle with iced water here – the residual heat is enough to nudge the skins, and you won’t have to worry about losing flavour into the water. Dehydrate the skins and blitz with salt for rimming your Bloody Mary cocktails.

Recipe from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky


As part of