Is the garden erupting with end-of-summer bounty? Are the piles of CSA vegetables taking over your fridge and kitchen counters? Are you feeling as lazy about canning as I am this summer? Well then, you’re in luck! This easy-peasy roasted vegetable tomato sauce solves all those problems and more, in addition to the perennial question, “What’s for dinner?”
While I am slowly (oh-so-slowly) surfacing from my post-World Cup funk (two loonnnnggg years before qualifying for 2018 starts), I can’t quite seem to light a fire under my canning mojo. I’ve spent exactly one day canning since I got back from Brazil in early July, and I have to guess that farmer’s market revenue in my ‘hood is down this summer because I haven’t been there loading up on fruits & vegetables. And while I really, really need to preserve a whole lot of tomatoes this year, lest I face the terrifying prospect of store-bought tomato sauce this winter (shiver), I haven’t quite worked up the energy: yet. Good news is on the horizon, though: this entirely random, empty-the-fridge-before-stuff-goes-bad, roasted vegetable tomato sauce is killer.
This sauce is da bomb, in many ways. I honestly can’t remember the last time I whipped up a summer, fresh-tomato sauce off the top of my head, without busting out the food mill, worrying about acidity, or canning safety, or anything else. And yes, freezer space is an issue: I can’t possibly preserve all the tomatoes I want this year in the freezer. And despite my lack of mojo this summer, I wouldn’t want to: I enjoy the time-honored tradition of putting-up, and that includes seeing lovely jars of tomato goodness lining the shelves. But it was nice, decadent even, to simply toss a bunch of vegetables on a tray, then roast, blend, freeze. The best part? The sauce is really delicious: smoky, layered, chunky and rich. I’ve already used two pints on pizza, pasta and vegetable lasagna. At the rate this sauce is going, I don’t think freezer space is going to be a problem after all.
Adapted from Roasted Tomato Sauce by Martha Stewart
- 5 lbs tomatoes, cored and halved or quartered
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 1 bunch scallions, washed & trimmed, white parts only
- 1 small head garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 6 small sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 crookneck squash, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 2 Japanese eggplant, coarsely chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp red chile flakes
- generous grinds of fresh black pepper
- generous handful of fresh basil leaves
- splash or two of lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (400 degrees F convection). Spread chopped vegetables over two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over each sheet, sprinkle with salt, chile flakes and black pepper, then toss together to evenly coat the vegetables. Turn tomatoes cut-side down. Roast in the preheated oven until vegetables are tender and fragrant and beginning to brown at the edges, about 45 – 60 minutes.
- Remove trays from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Pluck tomato skins from roasted tomato halves if you like. Transfer, in batches as necessary, to the bowl of a blender or food processor along with roasting juices. Add basil leaves. Pulse until sauce is chunky yet uniform. Taste and adjust flavoring with lemon juice or vinegar and additional salt & pepper as needed.
Yields approximately 5 – 6 pints.
- Any and all. Since this sauce is frozen, not canned in a water bath, you can make substitutions willy nilly without fear of affecting recipe safety. Use whatever vegetables need using up, just make sure to taste and balance the flavors after blending, before you tuck jars away in the freezer.
- I don’t get too crazy about tomato skins, especially in a chunky, blended sauce like this one. I pulled off the ones that were easy enough to slip off, or very charred, and left on whatever was too small or annoying to remove. In all, I probably removed about half the skins. Doubt it made any really difference in the taste or texture of the sauce.
Refrigerated for up to 1 week. Frozen for up to 6 months.