Lots of substitutions can be made to make this recipe your own. Oven-roasted plum tomatoes from last summer’s garden were the highlight in my sauce. They keep well in the freezer and, when thawed, are still moist and lightly coated with olive oil. I ate one, of course, and it still had that fresh tomato taste, concentrated from the roasting.
1 cup oven roasted or sun-dried plum tomatoes ( I used 15 tomato halves)
5-6 cloves or about 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 -4 canned peeled plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup juice from tomato can—enough to bring to consistency of a thick sauce
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, adding more tomato juice as needed.
I used the sauce on this pizza: Pizza Day One and Day Two—following the directions for the dough, but using red sauce instead of white. Since I wrote those posts, I acquired cast iron skillets (12″ and 8″) and have been happily making my pizzas in them.
I still have a lot of tomatoes coming for more of the following recipes
I think I already have enough roasted tomatoes in the freezer (about 8 containers, small and medium in size), which I made as the tomatoes began to ripen in small batches. I saved them in small containers so they could be added to dishes—sauces, pizza, salads—or just eaten like candy. These are the kind of tomatoes roasted with lots of olive oil, salt, and thyme until they shrivel up into little red gems that are slightly caramelized on the bottoms and edges. I pretty much follow this recipe from Rachael Ray for “Roasted Tomatoes.”
With the rest of the tomatoes—the ones I didn’t put in the salsa of the last post—I made lots of sauce and puree. I don’t have one of those food mills that separates out seeds and skin, and now I’m not sure I want one. I found two terrific recipes that use all of the tomato by putting the cooked ingredients into the blender, not the food processor, the blender. Neither recipe requires peeling and only one requires seeding. If you’re thinking that leaving the skin and some seeds in the sauces might be bitter, you’re wrong.
The sauce is thick yet mild, not that deep red, highly-acidic kind you find in jars. It retains a little of the roasted tomato taste and it must be the onions and carrots that make it a little milder—yes, onions and carrots. One change I made in the process is not roasting peeled garlic with the veggies; I just added garlic paste to the mixture in the blender. The other change is not picking off the roasted tomato skins—they add a great caramelized flavor to the sauce and you don’t notice any pieces at all.
This sheet makes one quart of sauce
Here it is all roasted
Dump all in the blender
Here’s your quart of sauce
We have 5 quarts of sauce in the freezer, having already eaten two others with pasta.
Preheat oven to 425°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3 pounds Roma tomatoes (you can use beefsteak or a combination, but big round tomatoes take up more room on the sheet)
1 medium onion, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
olive oil to drizzle over vegetables
Coarse salt and pepper
1 tablespoon garlic paste, commercial or homemade from roasted garlic
Core tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, and place cut side down on baking sheet. You do not have to seed tomatoes for this recipe. Yay 😊
Place cut onions and carrots on baking sheet. As you can see in the photo, it all fits on one sheet if you have weighed your tomatoes.
Drizzle olive oil over all. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Roast vegetables for about 45 mins or until caramelized.
Scoop all the vegetables into a blender, then pour in any juices from the pan and add the garlic. Blend to puree to a thick even consistency.
Store in freezer in 1 quart container.
I often double the recipe when I have a lot of tomatoes.
I currently have 11 pints of tomato puree in the freezer, stored flat in zip-top freezer bags. The pint (2 cups) size is good for adding flavor to other sauces and soups, etc. Follow the easy directions here: The Kitchn: “How to Make Tomato Purée”
The answer to yesterday’s mystery freezer question is pesto—roasted tomato pesto. It must have been one of those days near the end of our ripening tomatoes, especially the ones brought into the garage to ripen after the season, when, faced with a mountain of ripe tomatoes, I did what I usually do—roast them with a little olive oil and salt, then figure out how to eat them. At least some of them went into the pesto. Roasted tomatoes make an interesting twist to that concentrated, thick paste. I could taste the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and walnuts, garlic, and parsley, which I prefer to cilantro. We ate it in spicy beef wraps, like these—Spicy Braised Beef Tacos— but without the extra crumbled cheese. I cooked the beef in the oven, in a large cast iron dutch oven, with about 3 cups of crushed tomatoes from the garden (also in the freezer, but recognizable).
What are your favorite ingredients to add to pesto to change it up?
I had a bunch of roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers in the freezer from the garden and friends, and I had used a few of each on hamburgers, but I was looking for something else to do with them and ended up making a big batch of pesto, using 1/2 cup for today’s dish and putting the rest in the freezer. It’s a parsley-walnut pesto base with the typical additions of Parmesan cheese and garlic and olive oil, then made richer with roasted tomatoes and poblano peppers.
The poblanos at first made me think of doing a Tex-Mex dish, like beef enchiladas or burritos, but the tomatoes and parsley had me leaning in more of a pasta direction. The Parmesan could go either way, because it’s a lot like the Mexican Cotija cheese. What finally led me in the pasta direction were those last five fresh tomatoes from the garden—well, not really the last because there’s a big flat of green ones in the garage that I’m hoping will ripen this fall. So this dish makes use of both roasted and fresh tomatoes.
This recipe is also about what else to do with a chuck roast than make pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and gravy. Nothing wrong with pot roast, but a chuck roast is flavorful and can be used in many other ways. I have a small chuck roast (about 2 lbs) roasting in the oven on a bed of the fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded, and 1 cup of beef broth. When the beef is done and falling apart, maybe after 3 hours, there should be a nice sauce in the pan, although it may need to be reduced on the stove. Then I’ll add the pesto and some sautéed mushrooms and mix it all with the pasta, whole wheat bow ties in this case.