For about 30 years I made tomato sauce on top of the stove. (I called it tomato essence, but basically that’s how many folks make tomato sauce.) Although it was homemade and good — there were still some things I didn’t like about it.
- By the time the tomatoes spent hours in the pot cooking they turned a very dark color — not at all like the bright red you think of as tomato sauce.
- Also, in spite of the fact that it cooked a long time, it was sometimes runnier than what I wanted my tomato sauce to be.
Some years back I “discovered” roasted tomatoes. One experiment led to another and now I make THE easiest, MOST delicious, and most beautiful tomato sauce I could ever ask for. It takes about 1/3 the time that cooking on top the stove takes.
If you live in an area like Virginia that has not yet been touched by frost, you should still have plenty of tomatoes. If you haven’t already discovered roasted tomatoes and how easy it is to make sauce from them, why not give it try.
Here’s what I do:
- Core and cut tomatoes in half. Place in an oven dish.
You can peel them if you want. (I don’t anymore.) Or you can take the skins out after they cook — or not. (Unless they’re really obvious, I leave them in. )
Depending on the size of the tomatoes I can get about 15 to 24 tomatoes in a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish. (Preparation is about 15 minutes for 24 tomatoes.) I fill the Pyrex dish full — but not so full that the liquid would run over while in the oven.
I usually cook two of those dishes at a time, although if I had enough tomatoes at any one time I could fit 4 in my oven. (usually 75 to 100 tomatoes.)
- Cook approximately 2 hours at 425 degrees. I take it out when just a little liquid remains.
- Stir well.
Want it to look like the canned sauce?
Run the roasted tomatoes through the blender.
Want it to be more like paste than Sauce?
Let the tomatoes cook until all the liquid is gone.
- Cool and freeze. (Bagging and labeling 2 to 4 pints takes me about 15 minutes.)
From a generously filled 9 x 13 Pyrex dish I get about 2 pints. One pint will be enough sauce for two people for one meal or possibly two depending on what dish you’re preparing.
The taste is so excellent that you don’t have to add seasoning unless you really want to.
I freeze as is. If I want to spice up the thawed sauce I dice up 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and two small red peppers (like cayenne peppers or fish peppers) and saute in olive oil for a few minutes. Then add my tomato sauce.
Simple, but really good with spaghetti or even as sauce for homemade pizza.
Try using this when you make salsa. I think it raises salsa to a whole new level!
Roasting the tomatoes is what gives the sauce its great flavor. And once you find out how easy it is to make and how much better it tastes than that made on top of the stove, I think it’ll be your recipe of choice for tomato sauce and/or paste.
Organic Gardening is easy, efficient, effective — and it’s a lot healthier.
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