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Do you have a ton of tomatoes to use up? Oven roasted tomato sauce has a depth of flavor that is unbeatable and it permeates every dish you add it to. It can make a quick meatless meal for dinner tonight or add some meat and make a wonderful meat sauce.
Last year during tomato season my friend Candy posted a picture on her Facebook page of some roasted tomato sauce she was making. It looked delicious so I checked out the recipe she was using and did a little tweaking. This is what I came up with.
Roasting food somehow makes it so delicious. Click here for how to roast broccoli for an out of this world side. And how to roast garlic without foil. This roasted tomato sauce is thick and rich and so flavorful.
Types of tomatoes for tomato sauce
I planted some paste tomatoes this year and have been using them to make roasted tomato sauce. They have less liquid in them and it makes the sauce more smokey and a little thicker.
You can certainly use any type of tomato for roasting tomatoes, but the less liquid they have the faster they will cook and the thicker your sauce will be. I have used cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, slicers, and paste tomatoes for sauce and they are all delicious. Yellow tomatoes make a very low acid, delicious tomato sauce, but the color is a little off-putting and not what people expect to see in tomato sauce. I stick with mostly red when making the sauce.
Obviously the more flavorful the tomato is when it starts, the more flavorful your roasted tomato sauce will be, but even grocery store tomatoes with no flavor at all will be far tastier when roasted. Roasting brings out the sweetness in foods and concentrates the flavor. The onions and garlic that are roasted with the tomatoes also enhance the flavor a lot.
I love to use the scratch and dent sale, less than perfect tomatoes for sauce. You can cut off the bad spots and ugly parts and still use the rest of the tomato. I love cutting down on food waste with recipes like roasted tomato sauce.
Roast tomatoes for sauce
Slice your garden tomatoes in half and throw them on a cookie sheet. Chop some onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and toss it on the pan. You don’t need to worry about peels or seeds or anything since you will be passing your vegetables through the food mill. It takes out all those parts. You can also just throw it all in the blender and whiz it up and it will be fine with all of that included. I do it both way.
Sprinkle the mixture with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Roast tomatoes in the oven
Toss the vegetables well and spread them in a single layer with the tomatoes cut side up on a cookie sheet with sides. Roast them at 400 degrees until the edges are just starting to turn brown. It can take 30 minutes to an hour depending on the type of tomatoes, and the size.
It takes about 5 pounds or so of tomatoes to make a quart of roasted tomato sauce. It can vary depending on water content, but that’s an estimate to help you get started.
If you like more brown flavor or char on your food, you can fire roast the tomatoes. You can do this several ways. It’s easy to do it just like this recipe but use the broiler instead of the roasting feature of the oven. You will get that fire-roasted tomato flavor, but your garlic and onions may burn, so you may want to fire-roast them separately. You can also fire roast tomatoes on the grill until they are charred.
Another way to get a fire-roasted flavor is by using a stovetop or indoor grill. And one more way is to actually hold the tomatoes over the flame on your burner. You could blister each side and then slice them in half and roast them as the recipe shows above.
If you’re a fan of fire-roasted tomatoes and the flavor they give, go ahead and give this a try. I like some things with char and some without.
Freezing roasted tomatoes
Now your roasted tomato sauce is ready to use, can or freeze. You can add other ingredients as well. Whatever you like. Sometimes I add basil or other herbs. You could also use hot peppers, bell peppers or anything that sounds good to you!
Freezing roasted tomatoes is simple. All you have to do is portion them up in containers and stick them in the freezer. I like to freeze them in quarts because that’s about how much I need to make a batch of spaghetti sauce for pasta.
You can use quart size zip lock bags, mason jars, tupperware, or these handy deli containers. Just remember to leave about an inch of head space at the top of the container before you freeze roasted tomatoes in your freezer. If you use zip lock bags, burp out all the air before sealing.
Roasted tomato marinara sauce
I use this roasted sauce for many things. Most commonly we make it into spaghetti sauce and use it over spaghetti or make it into lasagna or spaghetti pie. We also use it to make pizza sauce. I just take a quart of the marinara sauce and add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a couple more cloves of garlic crushed. Mix that in and use it on crust, french bread, english muffins, or whatever you’re using for crust. Even tortillas would work.
Another way you can use marinara sauce is to use it for a dipping sauce for bread sticks or crostini. Roasted tomato marinara sauce is also great for stuffed peppers, zucchini boats or meatloaf. You can use it in meatballs as well. I love making pizza quesadillas for the kids and I use it for that. Loaded with cheese and pepperoni, this pizza pasta bake will be a crowd-pleaser.
You can pop some roasted tomato sauce out of the freezer to thaw and then add some chicken stock and other ingredients and make tomato soup or bisque. The possibilities are endless.
There are many more ways to use your garden surplus, check out ways to use excess tomatoes from the garden here.