Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my nieces third birthday party. My sister in law worked her tail off getting ready for the party, and everything turned out wonderfully! The party was ‘twinkle, twinkle, little star’ themed, so it was all gold sparkles everywhere, just perfect for a little girls birthday. There was tons of wonderful food, delicious cupcakes, and the most adorable frozen cake pops. And of course there was plenty of good company and fun for the kids (can you say piñata?). Fun, fun, fun.
On a food related note, one of my mother in laws old friends, Rita drove over from the Western Slope for the party. She also happened to bring garlic, potatoes, grapes, and a ton of tomatoes from her garden for us! I’m the biggest tomato lover on that side of the family, so everyone graciously gave me first pick of the tomato haul. I ended up leaving with something like ten+ pounds of fresh from the garden tomatoes! How’s that for a party favor? Thank you Rita!
The tomatoes were ripe and ready to go, so naturally, I did what any self respecting pasta lover does when she unexpectedly finds herself with an unexpected tomato windfall, I made sauce! And I decided I better share the recipe with you guys ASAP in case you happen to end up with your own tomato windfall too, before the snow starts!
I decided to go for a roasted tomato sauce this time around, partly because of the ease (no peeling, hands off while the tomatoes roast in the oven); and partly because I love the extra boost of flavor the sauce gets from roasting. Rita actually grows a ton of varieties of tomato, so I had everything from little cherry tomatoes, to plump sweet yellow, to deep deep red black krims to work with. (But, don’t worry you can use any type of tomato you get your hands on with this recipe. It’s really flexible. In fact, since I had so many tomatoes and different types; I ended up playing around with a few different variations myself (all of which I’ve shared today). Every variation turned out so, so good. Basically, you can’t go wrong here.
I now have a nice big stash of sauce in the freezer to fill my fresh tomato cravings as they hit throughout the winter and all that’s available are store hot house tomatoes. Not that I don’t use hot house tomatoes from time to time, but we all know there’s nothing like the fresh from the garden version.
Anyhow, fingers crossed for the tomato fairy to pay you a visit too. Happy sauce making!
Basic Roasted Tomato Sauce– Yields 2-2.5 quarts of sauce. Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and Foodie Crush.
- 5 pounds fresh tomatoes
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + additional to taste
- sugar to taste
- Wash and slice tomatoes in half . If you don’t want seeds in the sauce, you should seed them at this point. However I don’t bother removing the seeds. Place the tomatoes in a dutch oven. Peel garlic cloves and add to dutch oven. (If following any of the variations, add the extra ingredients at this point too.) Drizzle the tomatoes generously with olive oil. Place the dutch oven uncovered, in the oven at 400*. Roast at 400* for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes stir as needed, and reduce the oven heat to 325*. Cook for an additional 2 hours or until the tomatoes are well roasted, even slightly blacked in places.
- Remove from the oven and transfer tomatoes and garlic to a food processor or blender. Blend until desired consistence is reached. (Another option is to use an immersion blender right in the dutch oven to puree tomatoes to desired consistency. Though you may need to add a splash of water to do so.) Return the tomatoes to the dutch oven and add 1 teaspoon of salt, staring well. You may wish to add additional salt to taste. If your tomatoes are on the acidic side you may want to add a little bit of sugar to tone it down a bit. I recommend starting with no more then a teaspoon, and adding additional as needed after tasting.
- Completed sauce can be served, kept warm on the stove on low for later, or transferred to air tight containers or mason jars to be frozen. Frozen sauce can keep for four months.
Roasted Tomato Sauce with Bell Pepper & Oregano
- Add 2 bell peppers, cut in strips, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano to the dutch oven before roasting. Follow all other directions.
Spicy Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
- Use all cherry tomatoes, substitute in chile infused olive oil, add 1/2-1 teaspoon ground red pepper and 2 teaspoon lemon juice to the dutch oven after roasting. Follow all other directions.
Roasted Tomato Sauce with Herbs de Provence
- Add 2 tablespoon Herbs de Provence before roasting. Follow all other directions.