Roasted tomato sauce has a concentrated, deep tomato flavor. Fresh plum tomatoes are cut in
half, lightly seasoned, and roasted in the oven for less than an hour. The tomatoes come out of
the oven slightly caramelized and wrinkled and are wonderful to have on hand in the refrigerator
and freezer for simple sauces and stocks over the days and months to come. You can puree
them into a sauce right after roasting, or freeze them as is and use them later in the year.
You can you this method for roasting any amount of tomatoes. If you are
making a large amount, roast them in batches. Too many tomatoes in the
oven at the same time will cause them to steam rather than roast and you
won't get the caramelization that gives the tomatoes that smoky, concentrated
flavor. This recipe will yield about 4 cups of sauce, depending on the size
and juiciness of your tomatoes.
24 fresh plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Directions for Roasting the Tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line one large or two smaller rimmed baking sheets with foil or silpat for easy
clean up later.
Use a sharp paring knife to core the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half
lengthwise. Place the tomato halves on the baking sheets. Drizzle the
tomatoes with olive oil and then gently toss them to coat with the oil.
Spread them out evenly, cut side up, in one layer on the baking sheet.
Season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 40 minutes and then check them.
They should be a bit shrunken with some toasty dark bits on the edges.
If they still seem a bit too juicy and there is no darkening, give them another 10
to 20 minutes in the oven. The time will from vary from one batch of tomatoes
to the next, depending on their size, how ripe they are, and how juicy they are.
Once roasted, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool on the baking
sheet. Then simply pass them through a food mill or puree them in a blender
to create a sauce. Or freeze them as is for later use. To freeze the sauce, ladle
it into freezer containers or resealable plastic freezer bags, leaving about 1-inch
Directions for Making the Tomatoes into a Sauce:
There are a few methods that you can use to make the tomatoes into a sauce.
1. Use a Food Mill (recommended method)
A food mill consists of a metal strainer fitted with a hand-cranked paddle that
pushes the food through the holes of the strainer. The strainer has retractable
legs so it can be placed over a bowl. The pureed food passes through while
the skins, seeds, and other hard objects remain behind. A blender or food
processor can puree foods but both pulverize the seeds and skins so that they
cannot be separated from the puree. To use a food mill, put the cooled roasted
tomatoes into the strainer portion of the mill and place over a bowl. Keep
turning the paddle until all of the tomato pulp has been extracted and only the
skins and seeds remain in the strainer. You will have a delicious sauce in your
bowl ready to serve with pasta or your favorite recipe.
2. Use a Blender or Food Processor
The seeds in tomatoes can be unpleasant, and sometimes bitter; they can
interfere with the texture of sauces that you want to be perfectly smooth.
If you don't have a food mill, you can cut the tomatoes in half and scrape the
seeds out with a spoon before pureeing them in a food processor or blender.
If the seeds don't bother you, just leave them in.
If you are going to use a blender or food processor, you may want to remove
the tomato skins before roasting. To do that, bring a large pot of water to a
boil. With a paring knife, cut a shallow “x” in the bottom of each tomato.
Blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds (just until the skin begins to
peel away), then remove with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of ice
water to cool. Peel the skins off the tomatoes, then core and cut into halves.
Proceed with roasting them as described above.