Saturday, September 13, 2014

Roasted tomato sauce

Last week, we used the last of the tomato sauce in the freezer from last year. It's time to make sauce to freeze for the coming year. I had over 9 pounds of tomatoes from the farm and from my mom. (Never refuse an offer of tomatoes from a family member or friend.)
The easiest recipe for sauce that I've ever found came from Martha Stewart -- or at least it started from there. I've adapted it over the years.

For the amount of tomatoes I had, I prepared two baking pans, by adding a large sweet onion and a few garlic cloves to both.
Wash your tomatoes, core if needed (I don't core plum tomatoes), and cut in half. Fill the pans with tomatoes.
Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Or, if you roasted your tomatoes late a night, turn off the oven and let them cool overnight in the oven. (But don't forget them. You need to finish first thing in the morning.)
Here's where I diverge from the recipe. Instead of putting all of the liquid into the food processor, I strain off the liquid, as it makes for a thicker sauce.
Then I grind the tomatoes in the food processor, one batch at a time. I added fresh basil, dried oregano, and salt to each batch.
Here's the sauce after grinding.
I mix all of the batches together in a pan, to even out the spices and salt level, as well as the onion and garlic content. It allows you to be less careful about how you put things into the food processor.
Add salt and spices as needed, to taste.
Then package the sauce for the freezer. I use 8 oz plastic deli containers that I save all year.
This batch made 10 containers for freezing.
I need to make a lot more for us to make it through to next tomato season!

You can vary the recipe in several ways:

  • Often, I will add hot peppers to the roasting pans to make a spicy sauce. You could also use hot pepper flakes, added to the food processor, if you don't have fresh hot peppers.
  • If you have an eggplant to use, roast it with the tomatoes.
  • Skip the garlic and make a sweeter sauce. 

While the entire process is not quick, the hands on time is relatively low. No peeling tomatoes. No watching sauce simmer on the stove. I've found it to be the easiest way for me to make sauce to last the whole year. It also helps that I freeze the sauce instead of canning it.

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