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I love The Food Network –  and also, the Travel Channel. Since I watch these channels so often, I naturally see recipes that I want to try and de-gluten-ify. I was watching a show one night (maybe Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? I can’t remember), and watched the owner of this restaurant in New York, Pastabilities, make her signature Hot Tomato Oil.

Now, I love me some pasta (corn pasta is the BEST alternative to wheat pasta, in my humble opinion) – and I also loved dipping bread in olive oil and parmesan at the Italian restaurants I used to frequent. Unfortunately, not being able to eat bread is kind of a problem here, and I always kind of feel like I’m eating empty calories with the oil.

So, when I saw this woman throw together this recipe – I thought it would be so much fun to try. The tomatoes make it feel less like empty calories – and the spicy sounds delicious (as I am a spicy-lover).

I never had her real recipe (since clearly, it’s a secret restaurant recipe) – but I watched what she was doing and decided to give it a whirl.

Spicy Tomato Oil

Considering that I just sort of threw stuff together – I’m going to give you the actual amounts of ingredients that I used – but there will be some recommended tweaks based on how my final product turned out. This recipe makes about 3-4 cups, and will last you awhile. Thankfully, the oil will keep it from going bad too quickly.


1, 14.5oz Can Pureed Fire Roasted Tomatoes (or Crushed Tomatoes if you can’t find pureed)
3/4 C Olive Oil (I would recommend less – closer to 1/2 C)
5 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tb Salt
2 Tb Chili Garlic Sauce (you can easily find this in the ethnic section of your grocery store, or at your local Asian Market)
Parmesan Cheese to taste

In a small saucepan, mix your sliced garlic and olive oil over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes. This infuses your oil with garlic, and also basically “fries” the garlic up for you. Boom – two birds, one stone. I left mine on the heat a little bit too long and my garlic started to burn – so if you see your garlic browning, take it off the heat.

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Once this is finished, strain the garlic out of the oil and set both ingredients aside separately. If you have pureed tomatoes – just mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. If you have crushed tomatoes, throw everything in your food processor and puree (or, if you have an immersion blender, this will work too). Ta da!

Verdict? I think I used just a little bit too much oil, since my husband said it needed more of a “tomato flavor.” It also didn’t taste fabulous on its own. It absolutely didn’t taste bad, but it wasn’t like I wanted to eat it off of a spoon (but then again, olive oil and parmesan on its own doesn’t taste that great either… so really, this is not an issue).

Now, what to dip in this spicy tomato oil? Well, we decided to crisp up some polenta chips in a bit of oil (from a pre-packaged polenta roll) and dip those in this sauce. I sliced them into about 1/2” slices and fried them for 3-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. I blot the extra oil off when they’re finished and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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New verdict on the tomato oil? DELICIOUS. Not too spicy, not too oily – and the parmesan added that extra kick of flavor that we were looking for.

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You could absolutely dip some bread in this sauce (like Jenee’s gluten-free Focaccia Bread), and it would be great. It might also work well as a pasta sauce – but I haven’t tried it, so don’t quote me.

Either way, it was a great side for the bun-less burgers we had for dinner last night. Success, I would say!