Roasted Tomato Sauce
September 22, 2012
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This is the time of year when fresh local tomatoes are abundant and reasonably priced so it is a great time to load up the freezer with tomato sauce. Roasting rather then stewing the tomatoes concentrates their flavor and gives them a depth comparable to sun-dried tomatoes. The recipe I adapted this technique from (by Alton Brown at cookingchannel.com) roasts herbs and garlic with the tomatoes. Because I use tomatoes with both Italian and Mexican recipes that rely on very different flavorings I omitted seasonings altogether for a cuisine-agnostic sauce. You could add some garlic and, if you wish, a bit of salt.
Note that this is not exactly a recipe because I do not provide quantities. Make as much or as little as you wish. And note, too, that the kind of tomato is not very important. Romas are traditional but I have used all manner of them including cherry tomatoes…that are very tedious.
Cut the tomatoes in half through the stem and spread cut-side up on a baker’s sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with a bit of olive oil if you wish. Roast in a 350°F oven (or, ideally, a 325°F convection oven) for about an hour and a half. Increase the temperature to 400°F for a further 30 minutes after which time the tomatoes should have some blackened areas.
After the tomatoes have cooled a bit put them through a food mill set over a large pot or bowl. If you do not have a food mill, peel them by hand, squeeze the seeds into a colander or strainer over a bowl, and put the flesh into a food processor. Extract as much juice as you can from the seeds and add to the flesh. You may have to work in batches. Put the milled or processed tomatoes into a suitable stock pot.
Pour a bit of dry white wine—perhaps a half cup—into each baking sheet and deglaze it using a nylon spatula. Add the wine to the stock pot with the tomatoes. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the alcohol.
Cool in the refrigerator and freeze in suitable containers; I use one quart screw top containers. To use simply thaw and season appropriately.