In my last post I advised harvesting your tomatoes in anticipation of the storm system headed towards Portland. And oh my what a storm we had! 35mph winds, power outages, thunder & lighting, rain, rain and more rain. Today's cooler cloudy weather was perfect for cooking up all those tomatoes to delicious perfection.
Several years ago I came across an article about slow roasting tomatoes for sauce. The slow roasting technique brings about such a rich sweet flavor from garden fresh tomatoes. Oh and roasting tomatoes in the oven for 2-3 hours makes your house smell amazing and your mouth water with anticipation. This year we grew several varieties of cream, yellow, and orange colored tomatoes, so our sauce was pale. I think the more colors of tomatoes you use the prettier the sauce.
Today's sauce included fresh from our garden: san marzano, big white pink stripe, orange strawberry, lemon boy, and purple bumble bee.
My recipe also incorporates fresh garden basil, garlic, and 'walla walla' sweet onions. And it is ridiculously easy to prepare.
Basically the technique is:
1. Wash tomatoes and cut in half. You want tomatoes to be of similar size, so you may need to quarter larger tomatoes. Remove stems and any brown parts. You do not need to remove the skin or seeds.
2. Generously coat the bottom of baking sheets or dishes with olive oil.
3. Place tomato halves sliced side down on baking sheet.
4. Add several handfuls of whole basil leaves, whole garlic cloves, and slices of onions.
5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and bake for 2 hours.
7. After cooking, dump everything into a large bowl. Add more fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste. Purify with an immersion blender into a chunky sauce.
Today I used approximately 40 tomatoes which filled 3 baking sheets and yielded 3 quarts + 3 pints of prepared sauce.
I freeze all of this sauce to defrost and use throughout the winter. It is an excellent stand alone sauce for pasta or polenta. And it makes a scrumptious base for soups, particularly winter minestrone. Let's not forget winter lasagne. If I make one batch each month in August, September, and October I have a nice freezer full oaf sauce to last us through the winter.
My husband is not a huge fan of eating fresh raw tomatoes, however, he loves the process of growing tomatoes, roasting them for sauce, and then eating his favorite spaghetti with homemade sauce all winter long. That's pretty sweet.
Happy gardening! Jolie