Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce
Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Onion, Red Pepper and Garlic Make a Great Pizza and Pasta Sauce
I'm always trying to come up with new ways to use Garlic, one of my family's favorite ingredient. Since I have a huge box of tomatoes and a couple of bags of Red Bell Peppers and Onions that I bought from the Farmer's Market, I decided to experiment.
This recipe turned out great. The vegetables have a deep, delicious flavor. It's hard to decide what to call this, since the chunky mixture could be used as is or processed a bit to make a smoother and even more complex tasting sauce. Try it on pasta, pizza or as a new twist to my son's scrumptious Bruschetta!
Use Your Own Fresh Produce or Shop at Your Local Farmer's Market
Although I grow my own tomatoes, I don't have a huge garden and still shop at my local Farmer's Market. I'm fortunate that I can get boxes of "ugly" tomatoes from my favorite local farmer. These are the funny shaped tomatoes that no one wants to buy. Some are really ripe and need to be used quickly, and others still need time to ripen. I get a carton for $13 and make all kinds of wonderful things. Anyway, to make a couple of big roasting pans full, you'll need:
- 8 - 12 ripe tomatoes (rinsed, stemmed, cored and cut into chunks)
- 4 heads of garlic - less if you're not as big a garlic fan as we are! - I peeled them and left them whole
- 3 - 4 large onions (Cut in chunks)
- 3 - 4 large red bell pappers (cut in chunks)
- 2 - 3 tbls Olive Oil (to coat vegetables)
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 - 2 cups beef stock
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking Tools / Cookware
- chef's knife
- wooden spoon
- measring spoon
- measring cup
- cutting board
- 2 large roasting pans
- freever containers or canning jars
Roast at 425 Degrees
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place half of your tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers and whole garlic cloves in each of your two roasting pans. Lightly salt and pepper. I always use Kosher Salt, and freshly ground white and black pepper. I have some garlic peppercorns that I might try using in my next batch. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Use your hands and toss everything to coat. Spread ingredients out to form one layer in the pans. Place in hot oven..
Your goal is to cook your vegetables until their liquid is reduced, charring them slightly and turning your garlic cloves into paste. They'll need to roast about 1 1/2 hours. Check them every 1/2 hour or so and stir. You don't want burnt vegetables, just charred. You also want the pan to turn black with little bits of residue - this is where a lot of the taste will come from in your final product.
Adding Stock and Wine
Using Fond to Add Depth of Flavor to Your Roasted Tomatoes
After your vegetables have charred and the liquid is almost gone, remove pans from oven. I used a wooden spoon to "squish" my garlic and stir it into the tomato mixture.
Deglaze the pans with some of the wine and a spoon. All that means is that you use a small amount of wine and a wooden spoon to "clean" or scrape up the dark bits around your pan. Don't think that you'll ruin your sauce and that it'll taste burnt! The dried bits (called Fond), when mixed with your wine, turn a deep smoky flavor that really enhances your sauce. AND, you're cleaning your pan at the same time!
Next add the remaining wine to your pans, stir and return to oven. Don't walk away and leave your pans now. Let the wine cook away and then slowly add your beef broth (you may want to add a little at a time over the next 15 minutes or so). Continue to cook your mixture until liquid has reduced and vegetables are plump and tender - about 1/2 hour.
Remove from oven. You'll have a wonderful, complex roasted chunky tomato mixture that you can use right away or freeze.
To make a Thinner Sauce...
You can keep your mixture chunky or you can make a smoother, tasty Sauce. The implement you use will depend on what you have on hand in your kitchen: food processor, stand blender or hand blender. Personally I use a hand blender to be able to visually see the sauce as I blend it and to control how smooth/chunky I want it to be in the end. However, if you want a really smooth sauce, don't use a hand blender. A food processor or stand blender will do a much better job of thoroughly breaking down the mixture into a rich and silky sauce.
Hints and Tips
Learn from my mistakes!
1. I'm telling you to use roasting pans because I started out using jelly roll pans (As shown in picture) and it ended up being a mistake. Since I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I started my experiment, after I decided to add beef broth and wine, I had to transfer my tomato mixture into one roasting pan because the jelly roll pans are too shallow to hold much liquid. I then had to deglaze my jelly roll pans with beef broth so that I didn't lose the flavor bits and pour this liquid into the roasting pan. It would have been so much easier to start out with roasting pans!!
2. I didn't add any herbs to the mixture, deciding that I would add fresh or my own dried herbs as I used it. Experiment with this by adding different herbs while cooking. Adding Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme will make it an Italian mixture. Adding hot pepper flakes, ciantro and cumin will make it more Mexican. You get the picture!
3. I stored my delicious Roasted Tomatoe and Garlic in freezer containers. You could also can this sauce. UPDATE: this cans really well As a thinner sauce.
A couple of items included in this recipe that I use...
Quality ingredients and good kitchen equipment are important in any recipe. I use an excellent olive oil, wine that you would drink with your meal and always use kosher salt when cooking.