Savor your best tomato harvest ever with Epic Tomatoes (Storey Publishing, 2015) by Craig LeHoullier, a tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange. Epic Tomatoes offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes. This recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce is is from Chapter6, “Saving for the Future.”
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Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe
Roasting your own tomatoes creates a sauce with amazing flavor and quality — especially compared with any sauce you’ll find at the grocery store — and the ease of preparation is just plain silly. All it takes is a couple of large roasting pans and any seasonings you’d like to add (we like to roast ours with peppers, onion, and garlic). Once the sauce is done, you can either freeze or can it. The culinary beauty of roasted tomato sauce is in its intensity and complexity; roasting brings out deeper, richer flavor elements you won’t find in sauce made on a stovetop.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 sweet peppers, seeded, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into .5 -inch cubes
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 20 pounds (at minimum) tomatoes, all sizes and colors, cored and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
• .5 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 300 deg. F.
2. Divide the oil, pepper, onion, and garlic between two roasting pans.
3. Add tomatoes until within an inch of the top of each pan; season with pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt, and stir.
4. Place the pans in the oven and cook for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce will bubble, reduce, and char a bit in places.
5. Either add more tomatoes to each pan and continue to roast, or, if the sauce is of a thickness that you like, remove the pans from the oven. If you wish to add some fresh herbs, this is when to do so; we’ve used torn leaves of fresh basil and/or oregano.
6. For a smoother sauce, transfer to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender, or leave as is for a coarse-textured sauce. Use the sauce immediately, or cool for further processing.
7. Can, if desired, according to instructions on page 130. Canned roasted sauce will last for up to a year, though it is best in the first six months after canning. We also fill freezer bags and freeze the sauce; it stores well for up to a year.
Favorite Uses For Roasted Tomato Sauce
Though we love using our roasted tomato sauce the day we make it, the true value is in incorporating it into recipes long after the garden is done. Of course, we love it ladled over cooked pasta, but we enjoy it even more when combined with eggplant. Because of the prolific nature of eggplant when grown in containers, we are often overwhelmed and needed an easy way to preserve it for winter use. By simply peeling eggplant, slicing into slabs, dipping into beaten egg and milk, dredging in bread crumbs, and baking on cookie sheets at 400 deg. F until browned, the excess eggplant harvest can be squirreled away in freezer bags and popped out at a moment’s notice for a great off-season meal. We use the baked, breaded eggplant slices in two ways with our roasted sauce. They provide the perfect layers for a traditional eggplant parmesan (alternating tiers of the eggplant with mozzarella cheese and the sauce). Even easier (and lighter) is simply placing the frozen rounds on a cookie sheet and crisping in a 400 deg. F oven; they then serve as a bed for cooked spaghetti, over which the hot roasted tomato sauce is ladled.
More From Epic Tomatoes
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Epic Tomatoes, by Craig LeHoullier and published by Storey Publishing, 2015.