From Garden to Table: Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile crops you can grow in the garden. You can eat them fresh as well as add them to many dishes. They are also very easy to preserve for later use in soups and sauces.
Tomatoes are good producers and one plant will give a lot of fruit. If you want to eat fresh try the small cherry or grape varieties. Beefsteaks are great for sandwiches. However, if you want to make sauce plant lots of Roma or Paste tomatoes, which have more meat and less seeds, making for a thicker and more flavorful sauce.
If you have ever canned or processed tomatoes in any way you know it takes a lot of work. Taking off the skins and removing seeds can take forever. If you are making something like ketchup that step can't be skipped, but if you want a delicious tomato sauce to add to your favorite dishes look no further. This is the easiest sauce to make and it is so very good.
Be warned this is a process recipe. There are no exact measurements, but are based on a large batch which overflows your standard roasting pan which makes about 3 qts worth of sauce at a time. Trust your tastes. If you like garlic, add a bunch. You can always add more at the end if the flavor isn't enough.
Gather Your Supplies:
- Fresh tomatoes
- 1 head garlic
- 1 medium onion
- fresh basil and oregano
- balsamic vinegar
- sea salt
- olive oil
- If you are using Roma or Paste Tomatoes cut them in half. If you are using a medium size tomato like a Better Boy cut them in quarters. My pan is usually overflowing - which isn't ideal, but you can also add a second pan.
- Set all your tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Add a whole head of garlic. Skin and bruise each clove. Cut the onion into quarters and add to the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Don't skimp if you want flavor!
- Dig your hands in and give the tomatoes a good mixing to make sure the oil coats everything.
- Turn your oven on to 400* and roast until the skin is wrinkled and the tomatoes are starting to blacken in a couple of spots. Approximately 45 minutes. You might want to give them a stir a couple of times while they are cooking if you pan is pretty full.
- Transfer the contents of the pan into a large bowl- I use my crock pot. Add in a bunch of fresh basil and oregano.
- Blend the tomatoes with an immersion blender until very smooth. You can also use a food processor, but you will have to work in batches.
- Start tasting. This is where personal preference comes in. Take a taste and add more salt, pepper, balsamic, herbs, etc. until it is to your taste. I sometimes add a drizzle of honey too.
Now that your sauce is done what can you do with it? If you only made a small batch, just pour in in a container and use within a week. If you made a large batch you can freeze it in bags or containers. I like to use 2 cup portions in bags that I freeze flat so they take up less room.
You can also can this sauce using a hot water bath canner. If you are worried about acidity you can always add a tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar to each jar as you add the sauce. Process in the canner for 35-40 minutes.
This sauce is amazing alone- I could eat it by the spoonful as a soup. You can use it in chili, on pasta, on pizza...
So this summer when your counter is overrun with tomatoes give it a try! Let me know what you think.