Monday, August 31, 2015

Summertime Labor - Tomato Sauce

It's summer and tomatoes flood the Farmers' Markets this time of year. While I am not a fan of raw tomatoes, I do love tomato sauce. This year I've been making Roasted Tomato Sauce. Here is sort of a recipe. Your results may vary, but using your home-grown or your trusted farmers' market vendor should produce tasty results.

First of all, get about 10 pounds of tomatoes. This past Saturday Casselmonte Farm had 10 pounds of organic San Marzano tomatoes for $2.50 a pound at the South of the James Market. Because you are making sauce, the look of the tomato is not as important as the taste. Casselmonte Farm usually carries "seconds" as well, and I will cut those up to make sauce and they are cheaper. Bottom line - obtain some good tomatoes.

San Marzano Tomatoes

Rinse the tomatoes in water and turn your oven on to 425 degrees to preheat.

425 Degrees

Cut up the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Cut away any brown spots and discard or compost. I keep the skin on since I puree at the end and the sauce seems thicker with the skins.

Halved Tomatoes

Grab about 7-10 springs or fresh oregano. De-stem and add to the bowl of tomatoes. Oregano is my go-to herb for roasted sauce. Try others like sage, thyme, or even a jalapeno pepper depending on your mood and taste preference.


Roughly chop up a head of garlic (or more or less depending on preference). Add to bowl of tomatoes.


Add a teaspoon of salt and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of olive oil to the bowl of tomatoes.

Olive Oil and Salt

Gently mix to coat the tomatoes with the olive oil. Vigorous mixing might generate escapees, so be careful.

Mixing Ingredients

Get a few rimmed pans (I used four for 10 pounds of tomatoes) and line with parchment paper. My pans are the bottoms of the broiler sets. I have accumulated a few over the years.

Place tomatoes in a crowded single layer on the pan. Pop in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how brown you want the tomatoes and how much liquid you want to retain.

Tomatoes on Parchment Paper

Let the tomatoes cool.

Roasted Tomatoes

Once cool, place the tomatoes in batches in a food processor or blender and puree the heck out of them.

Processing Tomatoes

The 10 pounds of San Marzanos yielded about 9 cups of sauce. Keep to use right away and freeze in batches.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Delicious. It takes some time, but having a taste of summer in January is worth it. And the sauce is flexible. I can use as is with some fresh tagliatelle or add sauteed onions and ground pork for a meat sauce with penne. Oh the possibilities!

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