It’s the season’s end, but the tomatoes keep coming. The scoring, blanching, and peeling is getting a little old, but there’s an easy way to preserve the taste of summer for months to come. Roasted tomato sauce is a quick and tasty way to put your bounty by.
This is more of a technique than a recipe, and you should make this your own, including the amount of tomatoes you choose to cook, and added flavorings. In addition, you may choose to make some just for dinner that night, some to freeze, or a bigger batch for canning.
Before we jar the sauce, it has to be roasted. And while I did say this is quick, I meant it’s a jiffy to prepare, but the cooking takes a little time. I filled a large roster full and it took two hours to roast. A smaller amount would take less time – you just have to see.
Here’s my technique:
I filled my large oven-safe roaster ¾ of the way with unpeeled, quartered tomatoes, one small chopped onion, and added 1 TBSP dried basil, ½ TBSP dried oregano, 2 tsp dried rosemary, 11 cloves of garlic, 1 TBSP salt, and ½ cup of olive oil.
I roasted at 425 for 30 minutes, then stirred. Expect it to be very watery at this point, but keep roasting.
The goal isn’t to get the mixture bone dry, but to see it thicken with the tomatoes starting to brown a bit. Stir every 30 minutes until done – mine took 2 hours, but consider I used likely 20 pounds of tomatoes.
After my tomatoes were done cooking, I adjusted the taste by adding fresh basil, half a squeezed lemon, and more salt.
I then took a potato masher and broke up the tomatoes, garlic and onion, still leaving it chunky.
For canning, fill jars, leaving one inch headspace. Clean rims of jars, and fix with lids and rings. Pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure (always double checking for your elevation) for 25 minutes for quarts. Sometimes it’s recommended to add citric acid to canned tomato products, but there is no consistency, and because I added lemon juice and am pressure canning instead of water bath, I’m not adding citric acid. If you feel more comfortable adding citric acid, please do so. If I were water bath canning, I would add citric acid to this recipe. This mixture is thick, so I feel the most comfortable pressure canning.
I use one quart with one pound of pasta, and I also add fresh parmesan and cracked pepper before serving. I sear shrimp in olive oil, garlic and crushed pepper and finish it with lemon juice to put in this pasta. If you can roasted tomato sauce to have on hand, and peel the shrimp ahead of time, you have a fast, exquisite little weeknight meal even on busy days. Because this is thick and rich, the sauce would also be lovely spooned over grilled chicken, or even as a side much like stewed tomatoes.
I have frozen this sauce in the past as well, but I prefer canning as I get a thicker, non-watery result. This large amount of tomatoes only yielded 2 1/2 quarts, so I’m doing two rounds of roasting to get enough jars to can. I hadn’t made this recipe in years, so moving forward I will do one, giant batch in my electric roaster. If you wanted more of a ratatouille, you could also add eggplant, squash, and sweet bell pepper to the tomatoes before roasting. This technique is a smart catch-all dish for straggling vegetables at season’s end.