Sunday, September 18, 2011

A recipe post: Roasted Tomato Sauce

I don't share many here, probably since I hardly ever cook. I am blessed with a husband who enjoys cooking, and, as a bonus, is fabulous in the kitchen. I've preferred to take a back seat, performing more sous chef duties or scullery maid chores. C says that I'm lazy about cooking, but to me, it's not so much that I don't CARE about's just that there are other things more important to me rather than spending hours in the kitchen!

We had a ton of fresh tomatoes that needed to be used up. The inspiration for this sauce came to me a few weeks ago. At that time, we were making a Rick Bayless sauce which we then froze for later (will be great over some enchiladas or huevos rancheros!). While we were making it, I commented on how much it looked like pasta sauce. C replied that there was a sauce recipe out there, with a similar method, and that I needed to watch a video first. Then we could make the sauce.

It look me a few days? weeks? to watch the video. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure. The guy is a genius--C found him months ago and has been eating up (ha!) his ideas.

After viewing, I knew I could make the sauce--it was that easy. So last night, while C was hunting, I noticed that the tomatoes we had picked during the week were starting to look scary. I didn't want them to go to waste.

Now, due to poor planning on my part, I had to deviate from the recipe. I'll share with you what I did as well as the REAL recipe. Guess who didn't have any onions in the house??? I don't know HOW that happened. And we didn't have any fresh oregano, but...we don't often have it, so whatever.

Here's Chef John's recipe, in case you didn't want to watch the video or did and forgot to write it down:


1/4 cup good olive oil
28-oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes, regular or packed with basil

1/2 onion, sliced

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2-3 springs fresh oregano

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cold water

  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. In casserole dish, pour in olive oil.
  3. Cut up tomatoes and onions. Peel and crush garlic.
  4. Add tomatoes to dish, then onion, followed by garlic, red chili, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix.
  5. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  6. Take out, stir, and put back in oven for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Pour contents into saucepan, add water.
  8. Mash up vegetables.
  9. Simmer (to reduce liquid) and season to taste.

My Version:


Enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the casserole dish
3 pounds of raw tomatoes (I used mostly 4th of July and some heirloom)

14.5 oz can tomato sauce

1 head garlic (to make up for the missing onion)

red chili flakes



onion powder (to make up for the missing onion)

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cold water

PLEASE NOTE: I didn't really measure much here, so bear with me :-)


  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. In casserole dish, pour in olive oil. I used enough to coat the bottom. The point is, you don't want anything to stick.
  3. Cut up tomatoes—not too small, mostly in half. Peel and crush garlic. It was at this point where I decided it would be a GREAT idea to use the entire head, you know, to compensate for no onion. More on this, later.
  4. Add tomatoes to dish, followed by garlic, red chili, and oregano. I just sprinkled the last two over the tomatoes until it looked "good." Because that's a measurement!
  5. I added about 1/3 of the canned sauce on top, since Chef John's canned tomatoes had sauce.
  6. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. I don't know how long it was in there when I realized I never set the timer. Oops. Probably 20 minutes. The tomatoes on top and around the sides might get a little blackened, but that's OK.
  7. Take out, stir, and put back in oven for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Pour vegetables into saucepan, add water.
  9. Mash up vegetables.
  10. Simmer and season to taste.
I was at step 9 when I realized that just salt and pepper were not going to make this anything great. I then added:
  • onion powder. By the time I was done, I ended up using a lot. Maybe 1/2 cup?
  • dried basil. Probably a tablespoon, maybe two?
  • more salt and pepper
Stir, taste, add. Stir, taste, add. This went on for awhile, also because the sauce was too thin for my eye, so I needed to reduce it. Oooh, I made a REDUCTION; that's some fancy restaurant language for you. I did add the remainder of the can of sauce at some point, just because I didn't want to waste it. The need for reducing could have been because I used fresh tomatoes, versus Chef John using canned.

My husband's reaction tonight when I heated it up for dinner, serving it over penne and some grilled chicken sausage??? "A plus, excellent job. I don't think I could have done this better." Which is a HUUUUUUGE compliment coming from him. He's so good, he's often a harsh critic on other peoples' cooking.

Some of you might be wondering how long this took. It's no thirty minute meal, that's for sure. Obviously the prep, then roasting of the tomatoes will take you about an hour and a half, if not longer, then the reduction of the sauce will take you time. I started this sauce before I made dinner on Saturday night, and finished it well after we were done eating. So it's a good thing to make if you're going to be sitting around the house for a bit. I'll guesstimate 3 hours, tops?

It made about 5 cups of sauce--enough for us to have two generous helpings for tonight's dinner, AND I have enough for Monday and Tuesday lunch! I love when that happens.


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