In January, there isn’t a juicy tomato to be found, but now at the end of July, we’re awash in them. Once we’ve had our share of salsa, gazpacho and caprese salad, we get out the jars and make sauce to last all winter. We have lots of variations, but this one from Relish contributor Karry Hosford is simple, flavorful and rock-solid. The key is roasting the tomatoes.
The low, slow heat evaporates the tomatoes’ juices and concentrates their flavor, making them rich and silky and super-flavorful. After roasting, the skins will slip off easily, but you can leave them on, too. Tossed in a blender or food processor with some balsamic vinegar, the tomatoes transform into a pulpy (in a good way) purée with a fresh, thick consistency. Because the sauce can be used in so many different dishes, we kept it plain and simple, without any fresh herbs, wine, broth or anything else. That way, we can add whatever we need later to better suit the dish at hand. The sauce goes equally well with grilled fish, chicken or beef and, of course, in lasagna or with spaghetti.
Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
6 tomatoes, whole or sliced ½-inch thick
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 225F.
2. Line a sheet tray with foil. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic on the foil. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 2½ hours, or until garlic is golden and tomato skins are pulling away from tomatoes.
3.åol slightly. Carefully remove peel from tomatoes. (It should come off easily.) Place tomatoes, onions and garlic in a blender and add balsamic vinegar. Pulse until desired consistency. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Per (1/2-cup) serving: 130 calories, 8g fat, 0mg chol., 2g prot., 11g carbs., 2g fiber, 220mg sodium
Tomato Sauce 4 Ways
Vodka Sauce: Add 1/2 cup half-and-half and vodka to sauce.
Arrabbiata Sauce: Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to sauce.
Puttanesca Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons each capers, anchovies and olives to sauce.
Bolognese Sauce: Add sauce to 8 ounces cooked ground beef, 1/4 cup wine and milk.
Photo by Karry Hosford