Tomato sauce is like chicken broth—one of those food things that I avoided making for a long time because the process looked too intimidating to even try.
After receiving Lidia's Favorite Recipes from Popo a few Christmases ago, I decided I would tackle tomato sauce once and for all. However, this was always with canned San Marzano tomatoes and never with fresh tomatoes. So, for several years, that's what my homemade tomato sauce was made of with the occasional jarred sauce when I was truly lazy or desperate.
Recently, I was conversing with a foodie friend and mentioned that I made tomato sauce from canned tomatoes to his endless amusement and subsequent teasing. I guess it is rather strange that I will make bread from scratch but I have never taken fresh summer tomatoes and turned them into sauce. But, the opportunity presented itself rather nicely when I went to this tomato festival and got a hold of these local beauties along with some rather cute San Marzanos.
This sauce is inspired by summers when my mom would roast a huge pan of tomatoes which Kristen and I would happily process through the food mill. It is thoroughly satisfying to turn the mill one way and then reverse it to scrape the bottom and repeat over and over until all the juice is squeezed out. If you don't have a food mill, a blender and a strainer (if you don't like the skin) is also another way to turn your roasted tomatoes into a lovely sauce.
This sauce may take a bit of time to make but the end result is worth it and even better than I expected. It would work well paired with ground beef or meatballs and I even thought it would be a good soup with a splash of cream and a side of grilled cheese.
And now, I can cross off making homemade tomato sauce from my list! ;)
Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
Yields: 2 cups
4 lbs. tomatoes, halved with cores and stems removed
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Split the tomatoes between a 13" x 9" and 8" x 8" glass dish. Top with the minced garlic cloves, sliced onion, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper. Top with the olive oil.
Roast tomatoes in the oven for about 2 hours or until fragrant and wrinkled.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then either grind in a food mill using a medium to small disk or blend and strain. Simmer for 30 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness. Add additional basil and salt and pepper to taste. Store in the freezer for several months or in the fridge for up to 5 days.