You’ve mastered how to care for tomato plants. Now you want a tomato canning recipe, or just an easier way of making tomato sauce from scratch. Would you like to go from vine to table in less than an hour? Grandma’s method involved washing the tomatoes then blanching them to remove the skins …then dicing, cooking, and simmering for hours. And that was before she ever added the spices. But there’s a better way. I suggested this method to a friend after I saw her pots of sauce and splattered stove top. She never went back to the old method.
Roasting tomatoes serves a twofold purpose: It intensifies the flavor and separates the solids from the liquid. Some moisture evaporates during roasting while the rest sinks down around the tomatoes. The skins allow you to lift tomatoes out of the excess liquid.
Wash ripe tomatoes then cut out the stem end and any bad spots. Slice lengthwise down the middle. Place cut-side-up in a roasting pan.
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs, fresh pressed garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft all the way through. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool.
Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully lift them from the liquid. Either puree the entire tomato or squeeze the pulp from the skins. Discard the skins or dehydrate them to make tomato powder for soups and seasonings.
In a saucepan on medium heat, add in additional seasonings, vinegar, salt, pepper flakes, cheese, or meat. Simmer just long enough to blend flavors then serve over pasta.
That’s it! For a chunky sauce, simply squeeze out the pulp, chop up, and season as desired. A smooth marinara can be made by blending the tomatoes with spices. If the sauce is too thick, add in liquid from the bottom of the pan.
Tomato Sauce Variations
Chunky Garden Marinara
Before placing tomatoes in the roasting pan, line the bottom with peeled and diced carrots, onions, sweet or hot peppers, celery, or whatever other vegetables you like in your marinara. Once the sauce is done, either chop the roasted vegetables or puree them together. Season as desired.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup Base
Cut red bell peppers in half and remove seeds. Brush oil on all sides. Place peppers in the pan beside the tomatoes, sprinkle with desired seasonings, and roast as directed above. While the tomatoes cool, place peppers in a plastic zippered bag to sweat. Remove pepper skins, squeeze tomatoes from their skins, and blend it all together.
The key here is thickness. Adding a couple carrots to the roasting pan gives the sauce substance and added nutrition. Once the vegetables are cooked and pureed, strain through a fine mesh sieve if it is still not thick enough. Add additional herbs, Parmesan or Romano cheeses, salt, and a little sweetener such as honey or raw sugar.
Tomatoes for Canning
Do not add any other ingredients, including oil and salt. Tomatoes only for this recipe. Roast until soft then allow to cool. After this point you can follow an approved safe tomato canning recipe, adding in acid or seasoning as directed.
Do you have a full-spectrum garden? Consider using black tomatoes such as Black Krim and dark carrots like Purple 68, then season with Purple Ruffles basil. Or use Pineapple or Cream Sausage tomatoes, Yellowbunch carrots, sweet banana peppers, and a light sweet basil. Use for recipes where contrasting hues provide a stunning kick.
It’s easy to take your best tasting tomatoes and master making tomato sauce from scratch. Roast them to eliminate hours of work and to savor your garden’s bounty without taking all day.