you say tomato …

October 6, 2011

Every year we plant lots of tomatoes in our garden, and at about this time every year, I am scrambling to try to use up every last bit of my fresh tomatoes.
A great way to use your tomatoes is to make a great base tomato sauce that you can turn into a number of things like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, you name it.  My favorite part is that it is really simple to make!  I roast them in the oven, then blend them for a nice fresh sauce in no time.  And, it freezes really well, so you can have great tasting fresh sauce all winter long!
{Fresh Tomato Sauce}
You will need:
Fresh tomatoes (about 6-7 pounds)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Optional Add ins*: (depending on your preference)
1 Garlic head, un-peeled (optional)
1 onion (optional)
Spices like: Basil, Oregano, Thyme, etc.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Wash you tomatoes and cut lengthwise in half.  (If they are smaller/slender tomatoes like Roma, I just cut them in half, if they are larger and fatter, I will cut them in thirds.)
On a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, sil-pat, or spray, place your tomatoes cut side up. (Depending on how many tomatoes you have, you may have to use more than one cookie sheet)  Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, just enough that each tomato has a little on it.  Then, sprinkle with sea salt a tiny bit of sugar, and freshly ground black pepper.
*If you are adding any additional flavors: for the garlic, just spread the un-peeled garlic pieces out all over the cookie sheet, and drizzle with oil and salt and pepper too.  If you want to add the peeled onion, I like to cut the onion in half, or in thirds if it is large, and place on the cookie sheet as well and drizzle with oil and salt and pepper and roast.  If you are adding any herbs, you can sprinkle them on along with the salt and pepper.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven on the middle rack, and roast for 1 hour.  If you would like your tomato sauce more concentrated in flavor, you may want to roast them a little longer.  The more the tomato dries out in the oven and the juices are gone, the more concentrated the sauce will be.
Remove from the oven.  And, cool slightly.
Place tomatoes in blender and blend until it reaches your desired consistency. If you want a really smooth sauce, blend until smooth, and pour the blender through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there are no seeds or peels in the sauce.  If you would like a chunkier sauce, just blend until you like the consistency.
*If you added garlic, peel them, then you can blend them right along with the tomatoes.  Then onions as well, or you can chop up the onions small and add it to your blended sauce, whichever you prefer.
This sauce will freeze well in freezer made Ziploc bags, just portion them out and freeze for fresh tomato sauce all winter!
This tomato sauce is a great base to use in many different recipes like:  spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, pizza sauce, sauce for lasagna or other pastas.

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