When you roast vegetables, the flavor is always enhanced.
This tomato sauce has an intensity that is hard to achieve if you cook your tomatoes in a pot. It also needs less babysitting. If you have a lot of tomatoes to process, this is the quickest and easiest way. Look for bargains at the farm stands right about now.
Use the sauce as you would any basic tomato sauce: to create a pasta sauce, top meat or fish, or as a base for tomato soup using stock to get the consistency you want. You can also add different herbs, or store it as is without the addition of the basil and thyme.
This makes a small batch, just two quarts, so hands-on time is just a few minutes at the beginning and end. Because it is a small batch, I use it or freeze, which always enhances any tomato base. But this cans well too if you make a larger batch, following standard canning guidelines from either the USDA or the Ball canning jar company. Basic instructions on canning in general here.
5 lbs. tomatoes
2 large sweet onions
1 head garlic
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil, finely minced
Fresh thyme, finely minced
The prep: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Choose bruise-free fruit that is at the peak of ripeness, and wash them. Cut out the little core at the stem end, then slice in half vertically. Peel onions and cut into quarters across the diameter. Cut the garlic head in half and gently separate any larger ones (you don’t need to peel them).
The process: Place the tomatoes cut-side down on two generously oiled rimmed baking sheets. There should be enough room to nestle the onions and garlic in. Drizzle with a little more oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place both pans in the oven close to the center and set your timer for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheets, and roast for another 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have shriveled and started to take on some color. If your tomatoes are large, you will definitely need another 10 minutes, and you may have to take the garlic out first so it does not burn.
When done, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Pop the garlic out of its skins.
I use a blender to puree if I am going to use the sauce for anything but a long simmer.
Puree until smooth, and use every drop of the juice that is collected in the pans. If there is a lot of sticking and glazing from the vegetables on the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water and place on a burner to release for just a minute or so. This is flavor, flavor, flavor! Add it to the mix, along with basil and thyme, and taste. Add more seasoning o your own preference.
Quick Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce
This is a 30-minute-simmer sauce, but with lots of flavor. Quick, easy, and one of my favorites. Note: even if you think you don’t like anchovies, don’t leave them out!
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovy filets, rinsed and minced
1 quart roasted tomato sauce
Juice of one half lemon
¼ cup parsley, minced
1 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, but not colored. Add the garlic and anchovies, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute. The anchovies will melt into the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, adding the lemon juice, basil, and parsley at the last few minutes. When your sauce starts to simmer, start heating the water for your favorite spaghetti or pasta.
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