Do you have certain things that you have been meaning to make but just either never get around to it, or are a bit nervous to try? Well, this sauce was one of those things for me. It was on what I call my "Culinary Bucket List" and I was talking about that on my Facebook page the other day. I was surprised to see how many people had similar kinds of lists.
I have made Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup, and Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja, so I have no idea why homemade tomato sauce seemed so daunting to me. Maybe I thought I would forget how to roast tomatoes? Maybe I was worried I would be disappointed in the outcome? Maybe I though that the ghosts from Italian Grandmothers would haunt me for thinking this non-Italian girl could even come close to good tomato sauce? OK, that last one was a little far, but I do psyche myself out sometimes!
I have also been trying very hard to work on homemade items so I can try to save money. Kevin was laid off last week so, like many others in the economy, we have to learn how to live on a tighter budget, and to take advantage of sales and coupons as much as possible. So when I saw the Roma tomatoes on sale this sauce immediately popped into my head. That is the beauty of this sauce. You can use those sale tomatoes because you roast them, along with garlic, and that takes on a totally different flavor. If I wanted to make a good Marinara sauce, you know the kind that just tastes simply of sweet tomatoes, basil, and garlic, I would grab those great juicy tomatoes at the height of the season (and trust me I will be doing that).
I tested out the amount that this recipe will produce and you will come up with about 2 quarts of sauce, depending on how thick/thin you want it. I stayed on the thick side and was just shy of the 2 quart mark by about 1/2 cup or so. Now the next time I make this I will double the recipe (or triple it) and then can the sauce so I can store it and use it later (another bucket list thing). I also found out that you can freeze the sauce in glass jars if you don't have the means to do the water bath necessary to can them. You can find that information here.
This sauce does take some time to make. You can simmer it for a short amount of time if you are in a crunch, but the longer you simmer it the more the flavors develop so trust me, it is worth the wait. Also, with roasting the tomatoes, your sauce can lose some of the red color that your traditional Marinara would have. But no worries, the flavor is all there, trust me!!
Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
5lbs of tomatoes, halved the long way and stems cut out
2 heads of garlic, root end chopped off for roasting (see here)
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
2 small carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup cup red wine
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1/4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a dutch oven or large pot, 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, celery, and carrot, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with red wine, and add in the bay leaf, basil and oregano. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, and then add in the roasted tomatoes and garlic, and salt & pepper. Allow to simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and simmer for another 60 minutes, stirring occasionally (the longer you let this sauce simmer, the better it will be). Remove the sauce from heat. After 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Blend with an immersion blender (or food processor) until smooth.
Store sauce in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze.