Oven roasted tomato sauce

This is what roughly 12 pounds (I’m guessing) of various kinds of garden grown tomatoes look like:

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(I have a little kitchen scale but obviously it couldn’t weight all this at once!)

Our garden has finally exploded with tomatoes! (By the way, I used to dislike tomatoes…until I actually had a home grown tomato. I’d been totally missing out all those years!) We knew couldn’t eat all of them fresh before they would spoil, so naturally I turned to the internet for inspiration.

Canned tomatoes? No, too much time. Roasted canned tomatoes. Well… Oh–! How about roasted tomato sauce that you can freeze or can?

YES.

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I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the prep work or what it looked like while in the oven or after, but I’ve come up with a fairly straightforward adaptation of this recipe that’s been slightly modified for working with a bunch of tomatoes and with minimal to no added oil.

The original recipe calls for ONLY 2 pounds of tomatoes. Meanwhile, remember, I had about 12 pounds. (TWELVE!) So I had to adapt the recipe to deal with unknowing flavors and liquid amounts.  No worries, though, it’s now applicable to whatever amounts of tomatoes you have!

Before we get on with it, let me be clear here: homemade tomato sauce using garden-fresh tomatoes beats any store-bought canned version by a bazillion miles!

Now that that’s out of my system…

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

Makes roughly 2/3rd quart of sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds large tomatoes (approximately 4 very large tomatoes)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, skinned and whole
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • Olive oil spray (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Clean tomatoes, slice in half, and lay face-up on parchment lined roasting pans (metal or glass, I used both). Tuck the garlic cloves in around the tomatoes. Lightly spray the tomatoes with olive oil then evenly sprinkle the herbs all over.

Roast for about 30-40 minutes. (For 12 pounds of tomatoes, I stuffed the oven with multiple pans and roasted everything for about 1.5 hours while rotating the pans every 30 minutes.) There may be a lot of liquid in the bottom of the pans but that’s okay, you’ll pour it off later.

When the tomatoes have appeared to have broken down and shriveled some, remove pans from the open. Using tongs, carefully transfer the tomatoes and garlic that had been topped with herbs into a blender and whizz them up into the consistency you prefer (i.e. chunky versus super smooth). When done, pour the tomatoes into a sauce pan or pot. (You can dump the extra liquid in the roasting pans.)

Add the sugar, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste test, and add more seasoning as needed. If you like the consistency, then you’re all done! Otherwise, you can let it further simmer another 5-15 minutes to let it reduce and reach a consistency you want. (It took about 30 minutes for my super large batch to get where I wanted it to be.)

Use right away as marinara on pasta, pizza sauce, as a dip for breadsticks, or in whatever manner you can dream up.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can use ANY kind of tomato, it truly does not matter. Although, sure, clean off the stems and any weird looking parts, but don’t even worry about skinning them or removing the seeds. (I’m all for less prep work.) This is all going into a blender so it’s okay!
  • I used a bunch of different seasonings for my huge batch. Since I was making 12 pounds (versus the original recipe of only 2 lbs), I used a total of 6 teaspoons of various Italian-like seasonings: sweet basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and even an ambiguous Italian blend. Use whatever you have! It’ll taste perfectly fine.
  • When adding the sugar, salt, and pepper to the sauce, I also threw in some crushed red pepper. If you like a little heat, this is a fantastic addition at this step or even earlier (i.e. when you put the tomatoes into the blender, or even before roasting).
  • I have some white wine I keep on hand for cooking and decided to throw a few glugs into my very large pot filled with almost 4 quarts of sauce. The alcohol is burned off when reducing the sauce but an added dimension to the flavor remains.
  • My roughly 12 pounds of tomatoes ended up being almost 4 quarts of sauce. I filled two jars and put them in the fridge to be used in the next week or two. As for the other two quarts, I put them in separate gallon Ziploc bags and froze them flat on a baking sheet for easy freezer storage.

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