Roasting gives this tomato sauce the full-bodied flavor of a sauce that simmered all day – in just over an hour!
Who doesn’t love to arrive home to the intoxicating aroma of a slowly simmered soup, stew, sauce, or roast – the kind of food you might imagine eating if your grandma had the family over for dinner on a Sunday afternoon or evening. In my house, I have a large red pot that signals to my husband and kids that something really yummy with those slowly developed flavors is in the works. But not everyday is Sunday and sometimes we need a shortcut to creating those big flavors.
That’s where roasting comes into play.
I first wrote about this roasted tomato sauce on my blog in 2010. I found the recipe in a magazine and couldn’t stop making it. My daughter’s eyes would light up every time she saw me preparing it and the whole family would literally lick the bottom of their bowls when we were done. Roasting intensifies every good flavor in the tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil, leaving you a rich sauce that tastes like you simmered it all day (but you did not!)
The original recipe for this sauce suggests that you should make it at the height of tomato season with heirloom tomatoes. Definitely good advice, but to me, the real beauty of this recipe is that you can take off-season tomatoes with mediocre flavor and still end up with a super tasty tomato masterpiece.
By the way, don’t feel that pasta is the only way to go – try this on roasted veggies, fish, chicken, polenta, sandwiches, omelettes, fritattas…and so on.
I hope your month of eating unprocessed is inspiring you to find flavor in new ingredients and techniques that can expand your menu offerings without adding complication to your prep. While all cuisines have their simmer-all-Sunday afternoon style dishes that we long to smell in our own kitchens, often times, you can create those big flavors in more time-efficient ways to fit your busy lifestyle. No matter what your favorite style of cooking is, I hope you’ll add this roasted tomato sauce to your cooking rotation.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Roasted Tomato Sauce is a great way to use up a bumper crop of tomatoes when they are in-season. But it's also a great way to make out-of-season tomatoes taste great!
- 3-4 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1 cup roughly chopped shallots
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil divided
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Core the tomatoes, chop the shallots, peel the garlic cloves (leave whole), and tear 1 cup of the basil and all the oregano from their stems.
Combine all ingredients in a roasting pan and saturate with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Roast the tomatoes and herbs for 55 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to singe. Remove from oven and let cool.
Once cool, pour the contents of the roasting pan and the remaining ½ cup basil into a blender and blend on high for about a minute or until smooth.
To serve, pour over pasta or roasted vegetables and enjoy!
No fresh basil or fresh oregano? No problem. Use dried - just remember that dried herbs are more intensely flavored if relatively fresh so use something like 2 tablespoons of dried basil and a tablespoon of dried oregano.
No shallots? No problem - try some onion - any color will do.
About the Author
Beth Lee is the kitchen-table storyteller you wish lived next door. Formally a Silicon Valley marketing professional, in 2010 Beth realized she’d rather talk about pita chips than memory chips and started her food blog OMG! Yummy. Beth is also a freelance writer, teaches cooking classes, and co-leads a worldwide virtual cooking community called Tasting Jerusalem that explores Middle Eastern Cuisine. You can find Beth talking about food on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
I am alone(a widow) but cook for myself every day. This sounds yummy and I’m going to try!
Oh it warms my heart that you cook for yourself. Please try this – and come back and let us know how you like it – I bet – you will love it! Keep cooking!
Do you remove the skins from the tomatoes after roasting or leave them on
I leave them on – they disappear in the blender. Easy peasy!
I love this! I usually simmer all my leftover tomatoes alllll day and freeze the sauce, but I’m definitely going to try this! I always roast all my veggies when I make salsa–and it’s amazing, so I’m sure this is a similar concept. I’ll make a bunch and freeze it!
In my experience, once you try it, you’ll love it. 🙂 I love slow braising and simmering too but this flavor is unique and a quicker way to yummy when time is of the essence. Hope you love it. Come back and let us know!
That’s exactly it!
Quick question … I have pounds and pounds of small tomatoes, from cherry to yellow pear to Roma. Have you made with these types of tomatoes? I’m guessing the blender will render the skins into more liquid, but don’t want to waste my crop.
Thanks in advance.
I have definitely used roma tomatoes with great success. When I have a lot of cherry tomatoes, I often roast them and just eat them like a snack, on bread, fish, hummus. Having said that, I cannot see why they wouldn’t work in this recipe. I guess you are right that there is more skin to pulp but if I were a betting person, I’d put money on the fact that they would work just fine with this. The roasting removes some of the liquid and the skins take on a ton of flavor. Go for it!
I can’t wait to make this, Beth! I love your addition of balsamic vinegar along with all the herbs. What a versatile sauce! I particularly like your suggestion of keeping it on hand for an easy soup. Thank you for the inspiration!
I make something similar but never finish it in the blender or add balsamic. This sounds wonderful. I’ll definitely try it.
Making this right now. Adding the touches you put into the recipe. I’m debating using a food mill. Can’t wait.
Just made the recipe and put it on pasta. Iit is so delicious. Ended up using the blender because there was so much goodness it the pan when it came out. We all loved it. Freezing the leftovers to enjoy another time. Great recipe.
This makes me so happy – it’s like getting a gold star! Glad you guys enjoyed it and will enjoy it another day just when you think you’re too tired to cook!
TY Beth Lee! Outstanding!
Roasting tomatoes, herbs, and veg is spectactular. And easy? OMG, is it easy. I make rhis recipe whenever I have several pounds of tomatoes – whether height-of-season marker’/s market finds or end-of-summer grocery store fare. Doesn’t matter because roasting is magic. I use this sauce as soup, actually. I make this and pour into bowls for awesome comfort food. Try it!
Soup is a great idea – I was thinking about that – thin it with a bit of stock, add a grilled cheese and it’s the ultimate comfort food. Or dress it up with some croutons and serve it at a dinner party!
Beth – yes – I have definitely done the grilled cheese sandwich & tomato soup dance. (I have never thinned it, though…) Fantastic! I have also garnished this sauce/soup with cooked langostinos, or shredded cooked chicken, or sliced boiled eggs, or cooked peas, or medalions of goat cheese. (I eat a lot of soup!)
One other change I have made to your recipe is to add chopped fresh rosemary to the roasting veg, and to toss torn fresh basil into my Vita mix. Yummy.
Man – I must go eat now! TY again for sharing your thoughts and recioe with us all.
sorry – i didn’t need to add the herb part to my above comment. You were already onto that alchemy! ?
I love your enthusiasm and all of your ideas. What I always hope will come through, especially in my savory recipes, is the idea of learning the technique and then applying your own creativity. That’s when cooking starts to become a relaxing creative outlet more than a chore. Keep the ideas coming – I love them all!
This makes the BEST tomato sauce – will never skin and cook sauce on the stove again! I also added onion and other veggies from my garden (zucchini, carrots, onion) to give mine a less “tomatoey” flavor. Delicious…….
Great idea to add other veggies – this recipe is so versatile – really a technique to use as a springboard for your own creativity!