Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce

I had a lot of tomatoes.  Not like, a lot of tomatoes, but several.  Enough that I needed to take action before they went to waste, but not so many that I wanted to blanch and seed them and spend serious time fussing over them.  I had like a pound and half of all sorts of tomatoes.  

I also had time.  We had a bit of a storm here, you may have heard, and had prepared to not have power or water on Sunday.  But we had power and water, and I had done all of the laundry and cleaned out the fridge and everything in advance of the storm so once it passed, I had nothing but time.  

Slow roasted tomato time. 

Slow roasted tomato sauce is rich and a little bit smoky.  The vegetables caramelize a bit.  It's a great sauce to freeze up for winter or a rainy fall day.  Or the day after a hurricane.   I use pretty much the same ingredients as I do for regular sauce, but in the oven, mostly. 

I dialed my oven up to 300 and spritzed a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  Then I laid out my tomatoes.  

I had all sorts.  Plums and cherries and grapes and funky looking heirlooms and such.  The bigger ones got sliced, the smaller ones got halved.  Skin on.  Seeds in.  

And I gathered the other stuff I add to sauce.  Carrots, onions, garlic.  

Two onions, about one carrot (my carrots were illegitimate), and five cloves of garlic. 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Into the oven at 300 for a while.  Like, definitely go do other things.  Two hours? Three?  Until things start to turn black around the edges.  

Then I put them into the blender with some water.  How much water?  How much do you need?  Start with a little, and if it's too thick, keep going.  I might have had a cup and a half of roasted veggies and used a quarter cup of water. Aim for fairly thick, this is a nice hearty sauce and it coats well. 

Put it in a saucepan to simmer for about as long as it takes to boil water and make pasta.   I added the things I add to other sauces.  Basil and a cheese rind*.

Oregano and a little less than a quarter cup of Zinfandel.

Yeah, I don't separate rotini and penne in my jar of rotini and penne.  So you get one, you get the other.  

Stir together and simmer on low until the pasta is ready.  Remove the cheese rind and you're all set.

My pan of tomatoes made four hearty servings of sauce.  Excellent on pizza or as a dipping sauce!

*you know, the edge of the cheese that you cut off and save in a baggie in your freezer.  Also, if you've been following along for a while, you know that I don't think a cheese rind is a good enough reason to not mark this recipe vegan.  Leave out the cheese rind if you don't eat cheese.  Add more wine and a bit of salt. 

This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.  Become a member-owner by filling out the application here

Stay tuned - tomorrow I'll post outtakes from today's recipe.

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Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce
When you've got some time to roast the vegetables, you can make a rich, caramelized sauce that's great on pasta or pizza.
  • 1.5 pounds tomatoes, mixed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 carrots, chunked or sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cheese rind (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
Cut tomatoes. For big ones, into thick slices (1/2 inch) and for cherries and grapes, just cut in half.Heat oven to 300. Spritz or drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil (1 tbsp max)Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet in a single layer (or close). Top with sliced onion and wedge in garlic and carrot here and there.Drizzle or spritz top with olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.Cook in 300 degree oven 2-3 hours or until edges begin to blacken.Puree roasted vegetables (I used a stick blender, but you can use a regular blender or food processor) adding enough water to get the desired consistency. Go for thick sauce. Maybe 1/4 cup water?Put sauce in a saucepan with basil, oregano, wine and cheese rind (optional). Simmer low, 10-30 minutes, until ready to eat.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

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