Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Taste of Late Summer: Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

Our CSA farm--the co-op from which we get fresh, locally-grown, organic produce all summer long--has had Sungold cherry tomatoes on unlimited "U-Pick" for the past month or so, and our family has picked about 20 quarts in all. We eat them as-is for snacks; they're sweet as candy and so perfectly portable and bite-sized. I've frozen some whole, both fresh and after roasting, to use later this year in chilis, soups, and casseroles. The regular, large tomatoes are abundant now as well, so we've been bringing home giant yellow Heirlooms and fat Red Slicers, several pounds at a time. All of which means that, sadly, Genevieve's gastric reflux has been acting up (a toddler with heartburn is soooooo sad), but also that, happily, I've had more than enough tomatoes to make homemade sauce. And I've discovered the best homemade sauce recipe in the universe. Seriously, the first time I tasted this stuff, I wanted to pour some into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. (I didn't. I froze it in 1-cup portions for using on pasta and homemade pizzas this fall and winter. But I will have to limit the amount Genevieve is allowed to consume.)

I can't take credit for this recipe, but it's so incredible I just have to pass it along. It's from writer-mama Catherine Newman's stellar--and always entertaining--cooking column over at But I'll lay it out for you here as well, in case you don't feel like going over there (though the photos there are lovely). This sauce is not only delicious, but super-easy as well. So what are you waiting for? I'm sure you have some garden-fresh tomatoes lying around somewhere.

Easy & Delicious Roasted Tomato Sauce
makes approximately 4 cups, depending on size/amount of tomatoes

3-4 lbs. fresh tomatoes, stems removed
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
ground black pepper (to taste, optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes lengthwise and place cut-side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. (You may also double the recipe, use 2 baking sheets, and switch the pans around halfway through cooking time for even roasting.) If using cherry tomatoes, no need to slice; just spread in single layer on pan, as many as will fit.

Scatter onion slices and minced garlic over the top of the tomatoes, then drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper.

Place in oven and roast approximately 1-1/2 hours for large tomatoes and perhaps 45 minutes for cherry tomatoes, or until tomatoes have collapsed and are browned in some places. (You may need to check occasionally to get the timing right; it varies, but do not let it worry you too much. Just don't let it all burn into a black mass.) Do not be concerned if partway through this cooking time you see the pan fill up with juices; this will cook down.

When roasted, carefully spoon/pour contents of pan(s) into blender (or food processor, if you have one, but I don't, so bear with me), including all juices. Puree until smooth. Taste and add more salt and/or sugar if needed. Either use immediately for pasta or pizza, or let cool completely and then spoon into 1-cup containers to freeze. When frozen solid, you may turn out the blocks of sauce and place together in a labeled Ziploc freezer bag, which saves space in the freezer and frees up your containers again.

Trust me; you'll think you've died and gone to heaven when you taste this sauce. Don't you feel sorry for Genevieve?


Question said...

Sorry for stupid question, but I have no cooking skills - What do you do with the seeds?

Also, poor G. Speaking as someone who went through period of not being able to easily tolerate anything acid-y or spicy, I learned lots of tricks like taking omeprozole and/or Pepcid at certain times (I always had to time it correctly or it didn't work). But, little kids probably shouldn't have to rely on medicine.

Shan said...

Oh, good question. Well, I don't mind the seeds at all--don't even notice them. But some people want a totally smooth sauce, in which case you'd have to put the sauce through a food mill. I don't have one of those, so don't know much about them, but my understanding is that would take out all seeds and leave a smooth puree.

Mnmom said...

THANKS! I was wondering what to do with all these tomatoes blooming without resorting to canning them.

I just scoop the seeds out with my finger as soon as I cut them. Makes a prettier sauce or salsa.

Mnmom said...

I stole your recipe but gave you full credit on my blog. This recipe is too good not to share. Come over and see!!

Donna said...

This sounds delicious. I love your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

Missy said...

I just made some last night and it is DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I'm looking forward to tasting some summer goodness in the middle of a MN winter.